By Ben Simpson

 

As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading. 

Today's daily reading is:      Mark 6:1-13

Scripture

Mark 6:12-13

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Reflection

I’m a youth basketball coach. My players are six and under. This is the first time for five of my eight players to play organized hoops. Beginners begin at the beginning. Dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defense. Fundamentals.

Good coaches tell, show, and then create space for their players to put what they have seen and heard into practice, to learn through experience. When Jesus called the Twelve, they knew from the outset that they would not only hear great information and see wondrous works, but that they themselves would one day “get in the game.” They would say, do, and pass on the things Jesus passed on to them. They would not only tell about Jesus, but live the way of Jesus. The same kingdom they saw present and at work in Jesus would be present and at work in them. 

Mark 6:6-13 tells us that Jesus sent out his disciples two by two. He “gave them authority over evil spirits.” They were given simple instructions: take nothing but a staff, don’t pack a lunch and carry no money. Receive hospitality from locals. If people will listen, share with them. If you’re rejected, move on. So they went, and they did as he said. They did Jesus stuff.

Mark says the disciples preached, called people to repentance, drove out demons, and healed many sick people. They did everything Jesus had done.

The Scriptures teach us that Jesus remains present with his people, the church. He is available to us and remains our Teacher and Friend. In addition to being our Savior, Jesus is our Lord. Like the first disciples, we are sent to preach and to call people to a new way of seeing and living, to receive and enter the kingdom of God. Followers of Jesus are still called to renounce evil and invite others to do the same, to resist Satan, and to offer healing and hope to all who are wounded and broken. The calling has not changed, nor has Jesus’ power to teach, model, lead, and instruct us.

Sometimes Jesus teaches us through the history of the church. We learn by telling the stories of the great saints of the past. But sometimes Jesus teaches us through our neighbor on our pew, or our friend in our small group. Sometimes Jesus teaches us through senior adults, and at other times his lessons come through our children. Kingdom people share a new kind of kinship where Jesus instructs us, equips us, and builds us up through the community, through the company of those who follow the crucified and risen Messiah. 

The lessons we learn are not only for us to record in a notebook, but are given to be put into action. Like the first disciples, we are called to do Jesus stuff. The knowledge we have been given in Christ is not only theoretical but practical. It is not meant to remain abstract, but to become concrete. And the way the lessons of Jesus become visible are through flesh and blood, through people like you and me who know him, who have been redeemed by him, who have spent time with him and have learned from him.

It is nice to gather with other Christians. It is something that we do routinely once or twice a week. But after being gathered, we are then sent. We are sent into our homes, workplaces, and communities. Sent to do Jesus stuff. To preach. To help. To heal. To knock down the strongholds of hell. Christ goes with us. 

Remember the commission Jesus gave to his first disciples. Trust him as you go forth.

Prayer

Lord, be with me today as I go forth to do your work. Teach me to be a servant of your kingdom, to announce good news, and to offer your grace. Amen.