“And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts—but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.” Mark 6:7-9
Be prepared. It’s the scouting moto and it’s a good habit to develop. In our focus text Jesus seems to be both embracing this moto and abandoning it all at the same time.
He begins by instructing his disciples to go out two by two. It’s a time proven piece of wisdom that we’re always better off when we work with someone else. God’s design that people go through life as husband and wife supports this but it’s also confirmed by many other experiences outside the realm of family. A partner to encourage, exhort, comfort, support and at times supply what individually might be lacking, is an important ingredient when engaging in an ambitious undertaking.
Given the fact that the disciples would be joining Christ in his warfare against Satan it’s also understandable why Christ would add to the disciples arsenal authority over unclean spirits. Many times Christ and his disciples would face off with the devil as they worked to increase Christ’s influence and push back into territory claimed by Satan.
Then Christ tells them that they’re to take nothing to provide for any future lack they might anticipate. This seems counterintuitive in many ways because when you set out on a journey most people do just the opposite. We pack a bag, make sure that necessary food is included, visit the bank to make sure we have the money that’ll be needed and make sure to have an extra change of clothes. This is what we do just so we can be prepared. But Jesus says, “No.”
Instead of preparation for the unforeseeable, what’s needed is an undiluted reliance on the provision of God. Especially for the immature in matters of faith it’s easy to trust in preparation and planning in place of God’s foreknowledge and providence. Even for the veteran on the road of faith it can be tempting to drift toward depending on our own plans which is why we need to continually remind ourselves that there’s far more that we don’t know than there is that we do know. Our only hope, our only help, is the Lord.