Mark 6:6 Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered 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 to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Jesus gave his disciples authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. How would they know how to do these things? They would know because they had spent years watching Jesus in action. Now it was their chance to imitate him. I can imagine them feeling a bit uneasy at first, wondering if they had truly received the authority of Jesus. But they had. And so their confidence grew because they could see with their own eyes it was true.
Last week I began a sermon series on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowers us to does many things, including casting out demons and healing the sick. But the truth is most of us don’t even attempt such things. It’s not been our practice. We haven’t had others to imitate as the original disciples had. That said, the authority given from the Father to Jesus, and from Jesus to the original disciples, has now been given to you and me.
What we need now is grace to try, to suspend our own disbelief long enough to pray for people and ask the Spirit to do its work. Ours is not to be responsible for the outcome of such ministry, only to pray for others when given the opportunity. Then the Lord decides what happens as a result. I haven’t done a good job of modeling this, but I intend to do better.
Lord Jesus, give us grace to overcome fear and doubt. Teach us to do what you did, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.