He called the Twelve to him, and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over evil spirits. And he ordered them to take nothing for the journey, except a staff: no food, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals and were not to take an extra tunic.
And he added,
In whatever house you are welcomed, stay there until you leave the place. If any place doesn’t receive you, and the people refuse to listen to you, leave after shaking the dust off your feet. It will be a testimony against them.
So they set out to proclaim that this was the time to repent. They drove out many demons and healed many sick people by anointing them.
Today what is being promoted as a more effective way of teaching is to provide experiences for the learners so that they can gain knowledge from them. This was how Jesus taught. His disciples had listened to his teachings and watched him do his mission as they accompanied him wherever he went. But this was incomplete. They needed to be sent out on a trial run of sorts in doing the mission. The practicum in the mission was supposed to be part of their formation as disciples.
The instructions Jesus gave are not the kind today’s trainees would get for their preparation. Today the emphasis is on self-reliance, resourcefulness, and financial preparedness. Today’s trainees are told to bring enough provisions and all they need for the on-the-job training. But Jesus told the twelve the exact opposite: not to carry provisions but to travel light with an empty pocket, and put themselves completely dependent on the hospitality of their hosts. Dependency on God and others is the key to their preparation and thus also to ours. Only when we are able to trust and be open to others are we fit for the mission of building a community of faith.
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