Mission is fundamental to our identity as disciples! ‘“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people”’ (Mark 1:17).
In Mark 6:6-13, the time has come for the Twelve to go and continue His mission – proclaiming God’s Kingdom. It’s not optional … they can’t choose to volunteer depending on their schedules or their gifting … if they follow Him, they must go for Him. On this occasion, Jesus sends the 12; next He’ll send 72; eventually, He’ll tell all His followers to be on mission!
To be on mission is to do so under Jesus’ authority (verse 7). They go in His authority to call people to ‘repent’ (verse12). That is, that all people should turn from their sin and return to God in faith and obedience. Their authority is demonstrated the same way His is demonstrated – demons are cast out and the sick are healed (verse 13) … the same signs because it’s the same mission! [Of course, these signs won’t necessarily be seen today when we go because the King’s authority is established with power through the resurrection. Hence we are at a different stage within the unfolding plan of salvation.]
The signs might not be same today, but the mission is unchanged! We too, like every generation of believers are sent to announce the Kingdom of God, to proclaim the King and to call people to repent and believe. For some that will mean leaving families and homes to go to far off places and different cultures – as a good friend of mine is in the process of doing as she prepares to head off to Asia. But for most, it will happen right here where we are – living as Kingdom citizens and proclaiming Jesus to our family and friends. Whatever form, mission must be our reality! It’s one of the reasons that we spent the last term on the Living Proof Adventure so that we can be better equipped to participate in this mission with eternal ramifications. There is no greater calling … no greater privilege … no greater delight!
To be on mission is to follow Jesus’ example (verses 8-9). Like Jesus, they were to go unencumbered by the things of this world. Jesus’ description is the description of the gospel runner familiar to them … one who runs with the good news, who takes only what is necessary for the journey so as not to be weighed down, who trusts God to protect him and to provide for him while he runs with the good news. If they took a whole bunch of stuff with them, they’ll be slow and distracted (consider what it’s like to leave home with a toddler and all the stuff you need to take with you!). To travel light is a picture of urgency!
There is a great urgency to our mission today. The task can’t wait until you’ve accumulated all your stuff … stop putting it off, stop delaying! The challenge of discipleship is whether you will go on mission today … is it a priority today in terms of how you spend your time, talents and treasures? Will you heed Jesus’ authority, cast off the things of this world and run with the good news? Being on mission must be our reality today … whether here or there … we must be on mission, everywhere!
Prayer: Gracious Father, help us to realise we can’t be a disciple without being on the mission to announce the Kingdom and proclaim the King. Help us to obey Jesus’ commission with both a sense of urgency and courage. Help us to be deliberate and intentional about sharing the good news with family and friends alike. Amen.