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The details in this passage are striking. Jesus was very specific about what his disciples should take along, what they shouldn’t, what they should wear and how they should behave. As a mother of teenagers I must admit it’s been a long time since I’ve told my kids what to pack when they head out to a week of summer camp or even when leaving for two months of summer study. So the fact that Jesus gave his adult disciples such detailed instructions is cause for examination.
Some might be tempted to look at this passage as a formula. If I take nothing with me, and bless those who accept me, then my ministry will be successful. I wonder how many times someone has read this passage and then, following the “formula”, put olive oil on the head of a sick person, only to become disappointed when healing didn’t come?
The beauty of this passage lies in the details. But it’s not that we are necessarily supposed to follow these particular details. The beauty is that God concerns himself with such details in our lives. We know from the whole of Scripture that God longs for relationship with us, and that within the friendship we build with him there must be obedience to His will.
The demons weren’t forced out because they didn’t take a change of clothes with them, and the sick weren’t healed simply because they didn’t take money with them as they travelled. It was the disciples’ keen obedience to the instructions of their Lord that gave them success. This passage challenges us to ask – and listen in prayer – for the details Jesus may be giving us for our day-to-day life. It’s not the details, but our obedience in the details, that brings about success.
Father, thank you for communicating with your people. I long for your involvement in my daily life and ask for you to speak to me today about the details you want me to carry out. I commit my obedience to you. May you receive much glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.