Readings: Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
By most any standard, Jesus is sending out the Twelve to preach repentance with scant resources. That’s quite a challenge.
Have you noticed that this is only Chapter Six of Mark’s Gospel, which has sixteen chapters in all. Yes, we’re beyond the beginning, but we’re not even half way; and you may recall from past years that up ahead we’ll be hearing a lot about the Apostles’ failure to understand Jesus’ message. We’ll end up at Calvary with them failing to show up.
I might ask, did Jesus send them out too soon and unprepared?
Or does he really know what he’s doing? Am I being too pragmatic, too goal-oriented?
Certainly, without food, luggage or money, they have to be very clever–or depend on God! If this is too soon, they can’t clutter their mission with their own agenda or strategies. They’re less likely to get in God’s way when God needs to work through them.
Proceeding like this, making mistakes (they’ll make plenty of mistakes by the end of the Gospel), learning the hard way, they’ll enjoy a unique opportunity. They’ll probably collide with God, even if it takes them the entire Gospel for them to get to that point.
But that is the crucial point, both for them and for us. Not that we get a reward, not that we do an efficient and effective job, but that we come to know God.
Isn’t that what happened to Peter, even after denying Jesus three times? He went out and wept; he deeply repented and he received God’s mercy. Was he ill-prepared? If I’m talking about impressive results, yes. If I’m talking about knowing God–and not just thinking about God–he couldn’t have been on a better track.