Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:6-13

For some reason and, at least for a little while, the disciples “got it”. Jesus sent them out in pairs so that they had each other for support. I wonder who Peter paired with; Judas Iscariot? James or John, “sons of thunder”? It was a joyful and exciting time for them. Equipped with Jesus’ power, “dunamis”, and authority, “exousia”, they went out to confront the enemy wherever he was lurking – disease, disabilities, deformities, death and even demon-possession gave way to the kingdom of God.

Jesus’ instructions were in line with His disposition and His yoke. “Keep it simple. Keep calm. This is not about you.” And the disciples discovered that, when they did it His way, there was a release of power and joy. According to Luke, they were ecstatic because even the demons bowed to Jesus’ authority in them.

Jesus’ yoke had a two-fold effect on those who were in partnership with Him. It strikes me that His invitation is not to put on His yoke as a single entity, but to wear it with Him. His yoke is an alternative for people who are tired of religious rigmarole. He offers an answer to the hard labour of self-effort. His is a partnership.  No-one has to wear it alone. His yoke brings a person into soul rest – no more fear, anxiety, guilt or shame – all those things are removed, not increased when we wear His yoke.

His yoke restores the image of God. It shares His disposition of gentleness and humility, exposes the false power of the enemy and releases one into the freedom of making right choices. His yoke empowers a person to overcome selfishness and greed and to express the righteousness of God by doing the right thing when confronted with alternatives – Jesus or me.

What was the one ingredient that made all this possible?  Confidence in Jesus, expressed in boldness. The spark had to jump the gap to ignite the fuel and get the engine going. Is this what is missing in us? Moving from confidence that Jesus can do it to Jesus will do it – through you and me!

Luella Campbell

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