This past Sunday at Redeemer the message was centered upon the calling, the sending, the doing of the disciples as Jesus sent them into the towns and villages. Jesus calls and sends the disciples almost simultaneously, then he instructs them on what to take, not to take, and finally what to do when they get to where they are going. There is a great simplicity to the way Jesus sends, instructs and tells the disciples. The simplicity provides a way for us to see how our own lives were changed by the command of Christ, when, just like the disciples we were not prepared for it. The authority of Christ is what prepares the disciples, it’s this authority that gives them power over “unclean spirits”(v.7). In the same way we have no power by ourselves to come to Christ, it’s only through the regenerative power of Jesus that our hearts are changed and we enter into the family of God. Simply, it is this authoritative power that is given by The Son of God to his disciples that prepares them, and it is the power of the blood of Jesus on the cross that prepares and changes us.
The instructions that Jesus gives to his disciples (v.8-11) along with his authority, put the disciples on a narrow path where they must trust in Jesus for their everyday needs. These men can’t take any of the things that you might take on an extended journey, no food, no money and no extra clothing. They must rely on the people they meet to supply their needs, but more importantly they have to place all their trust in Jesus. Although they can’t take the things they are used to taking on a trip Jesus allows them to wear sandals to protect their feet on the stoney roads. Jesus knows their needs before they do and he takes care of their needs, the need for sandals on a hard road, and the need for increased faith. We all need our faith to be strengthened and we all need our basic everyday needs to be taken care of and God does both. Christ challenges us to increase our faith by challenging us to look to him for “every good gift and every perfect gift…” (James 1:16).
So just as Jesus knows our needs before we do, so we should be seeing the times we are in as challenges that God has placed before us to strengthen our faith and renew our love of Jesus Christ. Just as these disciples were sent out, we are sent out into the world with all we will ever need, true faith and total reliance upon God.
As this week ends many of you have seen things that may shake your confidence in this country, but remember this is not our home, we are “sojourners and exiles…” (1Peter 2:11). We have been born again with a new faith and a new desire not to serve man but to serve God. We are told by the Apostle Peter to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the might hand of God…” so that we can put “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”(1Peter 5:6-7). Nothing in our lives is not seen and known by Almighty God, as Peter tells us, he cares for us. Everything in this world is groaning, and falling apart, as evil masquerades as good, and evil tries to push aside the light of Christ, we know that in the end Jesus wins.
The disciples knew something about Jesus, they knew he was different then anyone they had seen before, no Rabbi ever acted like Jesus. Jesus gave them authority, his authority over demons and they were able to heal many people. Today we have the authority of Jesus living inside of us and our faith should be renewed and increased despite anything we see in this world. Christ’s authority gives us all the assurance we will ever need to go through this world and bring others the good news of the gospel. There will be times ahead that we will become anxious or afraid, but through it all we have been given the same reassurance that was given to the disciples, we have been called, sent and given authority to do. Let Christ reign in your hearts throughout the weeks ahead and see the magnificent love of Christ Jesus pour out of you into others. Moses tells the people of Israel not to be afraid after they came out of slavery in Egypt and were facing the Red Sea, “…Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14). This is the God we serve and this is who reigns over us.