Dispatch One Hundred Ninety-Five

Posted: January 6, 2016 in Forty-first Bundle
Tags: , , , ,

MARK 6:1-13

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

In our day and age, evangelism has become a serious industry, with seminars on how to do it, techniques and methods on sale for doing it successfully, pamphlets and books on why we need it, and a thousand gimmicks for making it attractive and worth the money.

Contrast this with the evangelistic strategy that Jesus laid out for his disciples. He didn’t advise them to set up a booth with flashy giveaways to anyone who would stop and listen. It wasn’t about getting people to come to church. They were simply to go out into the world in pairs, without money, food, or supplies, and rely completely on the occasional hospitality of a host or hostess. Once invited in, they were to proclaim the good news and minister to the sick and possessed.

No large assemblies. No rallies or crusades. Just a quiet infiltration by the back streets of the world, moving steadily from one house to another, from one town to the next, until everyone had been touched or seized by the holy love of God.

Not everyone did respond with acceptance, however. But Jesus told his disciples not to dwell on the naysayers. It would serve no one in the end to browbeat resisters into emotional submission. “If they refuse to hear you, shake off the dust that is on your feet” and move on. It would be worse still to seduce acceptance through the offer of some gimmick or cheap promise.

Tragically, evangelism today is often more about the benefits and door prizes than it is an invitation to die and be reborn. Evangelism is bringing to the world a love, a message, and a hope, the response to which is nothing less than forsaking all and following in the way of the gospel.

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