Our readings this week have taken us through the disciple’s journey, a journey that begins with conversion, proceeds through deepening discipleship, and culminates in ministry to the world. We began with the story of a powerful military commander who, at the prompting of an unnamed slave girl, embarked on a journey in a search of a prophet whom he did not know, laden with treasure to pay for his healing. The passage in Luke inverts the narrative. This time, it is the followers of Jesus who are unnamed. They are the ones being sent on a journey, but they carry nothing of material value. And rather than going out in search of Jesus, they are being sent by Jesus to proclaim the gospel and to heal the sick. Whether welcome or unwelcome they speak of the nearness of the kingdom. Their words come to the hearers as salvation or judgment.
Just as Naaman had little reason to believe the word of the slave girl, as readers we have little reason to expect much from this group. But against all odds, they are successful. They return victorious, testifying to God’s power. Their obedience prompts Jesus to pronounce this apocalyptic vision in which he affirms their authority over the power of the enemy. And he announces the biggest reason for celebration: Their names are inscribed in heaven.
Jesus invites us to embark on the disciple’s journey: to take the next step and move beyond our comfort zones. He affirms the critical nature and importance of our work. It’s tough work, but our faith can overthrow the powers of the enemy—even the demons will submit. Then we too will rejoice that our name is written in heaven.
Thank you, Father, for inviting us to be part of your family. Bless us with the power of faith that allows us to overthrow the enemy. May all that we do be for your glory and for the welfare of your people. Amen.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.