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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Luke 9:1-6: Mission Improbable

Jesus decides it's time for his disciples to fly solo.

So soon? Have they even begun to understand who you really are, Jesus? Have they the remotest clue what is actually going on?

They've watched him teaching and healing, Jesus thinks that should be enough. Now they get to do it for themselves. He delegates his authority to them, and assures them that they will have the same power of illness and evil that he has.

I'm not sure I would have believed that until I saw it, if I was one of the twelve, so maybe that's why his only instructions to them are to travel light. The temptation would be to take something else to rely on "just in case."

Interesting that Jesus didn't bother to tell his disciples how to heal or cast out demons, isn't it? Was he relying on the fact that they had seen him do it, and so presumably would try it the same way? Or maybe he gave them lessons at another time, and Luke didn't bother to record it.

Hmm, I don't think so. This is a careful account, remember. Luke would have included anything so important. No - I think the reason the "how" is not mentioned is because it doesn't matter. If you've got the power and you've got the authority, it doesn't really matter how you do it.

Sometimes Jesus healed by touch, sometimes he did it at a distance. Sometimes he silenced demons before they could speak a word, sometimes he negotiated with them.

It isn't the how, it's the why.

Why heal? Why cast out demons? Why preach about the kingdom of God? Well, for the disciples, surely it's because they've got Jesus right behind them, doing these things already. They can sense the momentum of the coming kingdom - this is the wave they are riding. When people asked them, "Why are you doing this?" they would have an answer. Because God is doing it. And if people aren't interested in getting on board with what God is doing they have Jesus' permission to move on, leaving that faithless dust behind them.

It seems people are beginning to split into pro-Jesus or anti-. Not much scope for sitting on the fence, is there?

As for the disciples, the way to learn is to do. If that sounds a bit like Yoda, just remember - Jesus got there first.

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