Mark 6:7-13 English Standard Version
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.[a] 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Community Is Our Doing Difficult Things Together
When Jesus sent out his disciples, he had very specific thoughts in mind.
He sent them out together to do difficult things.
He sent them out together.
He gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff.
He charged them to take no bread, no bag, no money in their belts.
He charged them to wear only one tunic at a time and wear only sandals.
He charged them to knock on doors they did not know and ask for hospitality.
He sent them out into the villages ahead of them to preach and to heal.
He charged them to give their testimony wherever they went and stayed.
That meant each of the six pairs of Apostles went to six different villages.
To proclaim a message of repentance and of the coming of God’s Kingdom.
Even though it was incredibly unlikely they had a very clear grasp of exactly what they were being commanded to preach and give their testimony about.
And it is highly doubtful that any one of the twelve Apostles had spent any amount of time or expended any measure of effort towards believing they had the ability, could exercise any authority or power over any unclean spirits.
I’m sure they were apprehensive at first.
I am not so sure they seriously believed they could actually accomplish the task before them, to act directly, decisively in the astounding measure of confidence they were told, nay commanded by Jesus, to display before all of those people.
One does not get the very clear idea that any one of those twelve believed that much in themselves, believed that they had that even minimal value to others.
But, one thing is abundantly clear about this whole scene and that is Jesus said nothing to them about of any rescinding his direct command of their mission.
He commanded them to “Go!”
Told them how and when to “Go!”
And such was his command of the moment and his authority over the twelve:
So, in obedience, Go they did out into those random villages ahead of them.
What were they told to expect of their efforts – nothing specific.
What did Jesus hope and pray they learned from whatever levels of success or failure each of them would report back to him with?
Again, we note there were no specific expectations of success or failure.
No standards of measure for either success or failure are given to anyone.
No graphs or charts, no percentages, no lectures from any in management.
“Go! and do as I have commanded exactly as I have commanded you!”
“Learn your unspecified lessons from your efforts and report back to me.”
Unspecified Lessons being perhaps:
“Learning of God.”
“Trusting in God”
“Testifying and Witnessing of and to God”
“Your immeasurable inestimable undeniable VALUE to the Kingdom of God”
But when they came back, with no specific expectations having been placed upon them they each had amazing stories to tell of God’s power displayed in their world and perhaps hidden even from their own perception – Value to God!
They returned to Jesus with a new found confidence.
They returned to Jesus with a new found sense of self esteem, value to others.
They learned to believe in themselves.
They learned to believe in themselves and to value themselves.
They learned to have confidence in God.
They learn to trust and believe in God.
They learn to highly value God in the undeniable role God plays in their lives.
They learned to have confidence, to trust in, place high, higher, highest value on the words and the plans and the intentions and the works of their Rabbi.
God, together with us in faith Community brings all of that ‘wonder’ together.
How many of those villagers lives were touched and transformed, now found themselves with a renewed, fresh and refreshed and refreshing belief in God?
How many of those villagers found themselves and their curiosity peaked to start wondering about and following this Itinerant master Rabbi named Jesus?
It goes and does difficult things together—all the time witnessing the amazing work of God in the world around us, all the time assigning inestimable value to each, every one of us, what we have to bring “just as we are” unto His Kingdom.
Are We Recognizing Our Value to God’s Kingdom?
John 15:12-17 English Standard Version
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
When we think of these original apostles, we perhaps think of holy men of God.
And though they were gifted and dedicated, they also were all rather ordinary.
Jesus did not call these men because they were great; their greatness was the result of the call upon their lives through Jesus being obedient to His Father.
A great writer can take an ordinary unvalued piece of paper, and with the addition of his or her words, and God it suddenly becomes extremely valuable.
It wasn’t the blank piece of paper that was valuable; it was what the inspired thoughts which the writer, for whatever reason, just put down on that paper.
History has repeatedly taught us that a great artist can take a canvas and paint, and suddenly it becomes $$$$ costly work of art because of what the artist did.
It wasn’t the canvas that was valuable; it is what the inspired artist painted on the canvas.
As believers, we recognize in ourselves that we are sinners separated from God.
But let’s also recognize that when Christ came into our lives, He gave us value.
He put His treasure in earthen vessels, or in jars of clay, which are our lives.
As 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
As Ephesians 2:8-10 Amplified so eloquently reminds each and every one of us;
8 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
With a new confidence and boldness, we have something to offer.
It is not self-confidence; it is God-confidence.
It is not self-esteem; it’s God-esteem.
God graciously forgave us and took us into His kingdom, and now He has made us someone of inestimable value to the work which God began at the beginning.
In the same way,
the original twelve apostles, called by their Master Rabbi Jesus were valuable because of what Jesus did in their lives, by summoning and sending them too.
Valued of Mankind versus Valued of God
“Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.”
Sinful man who goes to indescribable, unnecessary lengths to devalue itself in the eyes of self and of each other, devalue others through indescribable means,
Indescribably, stereotypically “crucify,” unimaginably devalue and degrade, disenchant, disenfranchise, dehumanize and to fully and utterly humiliate,
Sinful man whose eyes no longer are focused upon the inestimable value of life which God has assigned to each, every single cell of one of His own creations,
From the very beginning of all created things, and through the very end of all created things, God has always had one very specific, undervalued message;
God’s never changing message to everyone is exactly and exactingly this:
Genesis 1:26-27 Authorized (King James) Version
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
“I, and I alone assign all the value you will ever need or require in your life!”
God wrote His name on your heart when you gave your life to Jesus Christ.
He has given you incomparable value, valuable gifts and invaluable abilities.
He has fully, utterly and completely invested everything of Himself in you.
That is where your absolute value to God and His Kingdom comes from.
And that’s why you can make an absolutely miraculous, wondrous difference.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Psalm 139:1-18 Complete Jewish Bible
139 (0) For the leader. A psalm of David:
(1) Adonai, you have probed me, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I stand up,
you discern my inclinations from afar,
3 you scrutinize my daily activities.
You are so familiar with all my ways
4 that before I speak even a word, Adonai,
you know all about it already.
5 You have hemmed me in both behind and in front
and laid your hand on me.
6 Such wonderful knowledge is beyond me,
far too high for me to reach.
7 Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I lie down in Sh’ol, you are there.
9 If I fly away with the wings of the dawn
and land beyond the sea,
10 even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Let darkness surround me,
let the light around me be night,”
12 even darkness like this
is not too dark for you;
rather, night is as clear as day,
darkness and light are the same.
13 For you fashioned my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you because I am awesomely made,
wonderfully; your works are wonders —
I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes could see me as an embryo,
but in your book all my days were already written;
my days had been shaped
before any of them existed.
17 God, how I prize your thoughts!
How many of them there are!
18 If I count them, there are more than grains of sand;
if I finish the count, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:23-24 Complete Jewish Bible
23 Examine me, God, and know my heart;
test me, and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is in me any hurtful way,
and lead me along the eternal way.
Invaluable Father, Invaluable Son, Invaluable Holy Spirit, send us into the world together, in your inestimable name, to immeasurably love and value all thy children and to ceaselessly witness to your power at work through changing lives. Let us each bring to you only ceaseless, incalculable, indescribable, immeasurable, inestimable, invaluable, unrelenting glory unto your name and into your name alone. Amen.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.