Summary: As soldiers of Christ, this passage gives us our marching orders. What can we learn from what Jesus instructed His disciples to do on their mission?
OPEN: I read the true story of a newly married flight engineer with the Air Force who had planned a weekend getaway with his new bride. But on Friday, his squadron called and told him he was to leave the next afternoon for an eight-day mission.
His wife was obviously disappointed.
"Don't you get weekends off like normal people?" she asked.
He gently explained that as a member of the US Air force he was on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
She looked longingly into his eyes and said "But, honey, couldn't you just explain to them that we had plans?"
(Reader's Digest 9/95 p. 51)
APPLY: This is Memorial Day weekend.
It’s a day where we remember the dedication and sacrifice of our Armed Forces. They are people who understand they can’t just explain they have plans. They are serious people doing a serious job, protecting our nation and its people. And they are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They understand that they are to remember to do their jobs… no matter what the cost
The Bible says that we are the army of God. Soldiers of Christ. And we also are called to be serious people doing a serious job… on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Our text this morning describes something Jesus did during the first year of His ministry. Shortly after selecting His disciples and sending them out to preach for Him. And He sent them out on a very serious mission. We read the very specific instructions on how they were to carry out their mission. Jesus told them:
1. Be single minded about your mission. Don’t get distracted with extra baggage.
2. Don’t waste time on people who will reject your message.
3. Help people that are hurting.
4. AND preach one central message.
If you were to just casually read this passage you’d get the impression these instructions ONLY applied to these 12 men … AND ONLY for this specific mission.
But that’s not true.
This story shows up 3 times in the Gospels (Matthew 10, Luke 9, and here in Mark 6) and the instructions are faithfully and meticulously written down. It’s been my observation that God does NOT waste ink on things that are not important to us.
These 12 men were being trained by Jesus to be His first witnesses. They were being trained in the skills they’d need to witness to people as they bring folks to Christ. And the message they preached is essentially the same message we preach.
So we need to pay close attention to the Instructions these men received because these are essentially the same Marching Orders we have received.
1st – Jesus wanted them to be single minded about their mission. He did not want them getting distracted by the things of this world. He didn’t want them carrying a lot of extra baggage into the field.
The 12 are told: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff— no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.” Mark 6:8-9
Pack light (He tells them).
In Luke 22:35 Jesus reminded them of their first preaching excursion, and then He asked them,
“‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’
‘Nothing,’ they answered.”
You see, this was an object lesson for the disciples.
They needed to know that if they did what Jesus asked He would supply their needs
That’s what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33
In short, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is telling us that we shouldn’t get distracted by the extra baggage of life. We should travel light and obey Jesus… and then God will supply all our needs. Too often, though, people get more worried about their things than they do about their Lord.
ILLUS: Years ago I served in a congregation about 40 minutes North of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was new to the ministry and idealistic about the things that should be done for Christ and I heard that one of the Pro-life groups in Fort Wayne was planning to gather at an abortion clinic there and try to counsel young girls not to have abortions.
I thought that was a great idea!
And so I went to the Board meeting that month and I presented the idea that our church should get involved in this effort.