In the first five chapters of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ ministry consists of preaching the gospel of repentance for forgiveness of sins, performing miracles of healing, and casting out demons. Here, for the first time, Jesus encourages his twelve disciples to do the same. He sends them two by two to do the same work he has been doing.
The theme of being sent into the world as Jesus was sent into the world is common throughout the New Testament. The Latin word for “sent” is missio, and we get our words mission and missionary from that Latin word. In the last century or two, Christians have often adopted a perspective that only missionaries are sent to minister like Jesus did, and the rest of us lead ordinary lives.
In the early centuries after Christ, Christians knew that all who believed in Jesus were sent into the world as Jesus was sent (see John 17:18). Ordinary, everyday life as a Christian meant being sent, just like Jesus. In our time, with the growing secular culture around us, Christians are rediscovering the “sentness” of every believer. All of us are called to follow Jesus’ model and become more like Jesus in every way.
Some Christians read the four Gospels and primarily see a man who performed healings. Others read the Gospels and see a man who showed love to the outcast and marginalized people. Yet others see Jesus as a great moral teacher or a man who spoke prophetic words to powerful people. The way we view Jesus’ priorities and ministry influences the way we define our call to be sent into the world as he was sent. Whatever our view of Jesus’ priorities in ministry, we model our understanding of our “sentness” after Jesus.
Jesus Christ, help us see the variety of ways you ministered, and help us follow you into this hurting world. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures this week celebrate the city of Jerusalem. This was the capital of the great King David, who united the ancient Israelites and built up the city. The psalmist praises Jerusalem using the image of Zion. Zion is a name used for earthly Jerusalem, but it is also a gesture toward a future day when God’s people will abide in a heavenly city. In Second Corinthians, Paul explains that even though he is an apostle, he still struggles like everyone else. Wild speculation surrounds the “thorn” that plagued Paul, but his point is that when he is weakest, God is strongest. In Mark we see God’s power working through Jesus, who sent out others to expand God’s healing work.
• Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10. The king of Israel exhibited the qualities of a shepherd. How do those qualities square with your experience with those in power?
• Read Psalm 48. Bring to mind a place where you experience God’s presence. Do you find yourself drawn there? Why?
• Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. When have you experienced a weakness becoming a source of power?
• Read Mark 6:1-13. When have you limited God’s power through your disbelief?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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.