When you think about the ministry of Jesus, what’s the picture you get in your mind? Do you think that He simply wandered around Israel with no objectives, preaching as He walked along? As we continue to study the Gospel of Mark, we’ll start to see the logistics involved in the Lord’s ministry.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
Jesus’ work in Israel is starting to grow. Larger crowds are coming to hear Him speak. At the same time, the number of disciples is increasing. At this point, the Lord probably has about 20 people in His group all traveling with Him.
We sometimes get the idea that life was somehow easier in the ancient world. In actuality, they had some of the same challenges that we have in our modern society.
It’s always easier when one or two people are traveling together. Food and lodging aren’t too tough to find along the way.
But now Jesus is moving around with a group of twenty. Think about it. That’s not something that could just be done without any prior preparation.
After all, there were no restaurant chains along the highway. There were no big name hotels with 800 numbers to book in advance. They had no arenas that could schedule a huge event with advanced ticket sales.
Jesus needed some of His disciples to do the advance work in the cities He was heading to. They needed to let the towns know that the lord was on His way there. Then they had to report back as to where they would sleep, get food, and what would be the best place to preach when they arrive.
Later on in His ministry, as the team grew to over a hundred, Christ had 72 workers who did this job. (Luke 10:1) Jesus never had the attitude of, “We’ll just figure it out when we get there.” It’s sad that many churches and ministries have no vision other than to hold meetings, and then just see what happens.
The Lord never took that approach. He even instructed the disciples as to how they were to accomplish their objectives.
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
Contrary to what some teach, this is not Jesus laying the groundwork for a poverty mentality among His ministers. This was the vetting process for the towns Jesus was about to pass through on His intended course of travel.
By taking nothing with them, they were testing whether or not a town was ready for the full ministry of the Messiah. If they were not willing to supply the needs of two lone travelers representing Christ, then they weren’t worthy of the tremendous blessing that would be given to their town when Jesus arrived.
That’s why it’s important to pray, seek God’s direction, and make plans for how your ministry will progress. It doesn’t just happen by accident. You have to put some legs on the dreams and visions God has placed in your heart.
Question: What’s the next step you have to do to prepare for what God has in your future?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi