As we continue in our series from the Gospel of Mark called [Re]Discovering Jesus, we’re continuing to look through the lens of the (re)Discovery Channel [Logo], as we’re calling it. Each week we’re hitting on a reality TV show that actually ties in with the Scripture we’re studying. We’ve taken a look at Mythbusters, Hoarders, Dirty Jobs, and today, Ice Road Truckers.
What’s interesting about Ice Road Truckers, in case you haven’t seen it, is that truckers are hired to take supplies across the ice in Alaska and Canada to remote towns. So, obviously, they can only go during the dead of winter, there’s danger involved, and the people on the receiving end won’t get their supplies unless the truckers make it.
When you stop to think about it that actually sounds a lot like what Jesus was calling His early followers to do—minus the trucks and the ice. But stay with me on this—Jesus sent His followers out. They were to carry His message to people who needed it. The journey was dangerous, and the people on the receiving end would die if those early Jesus followers didn’t make it. We see this especially in our text this morning, broken down in two parts. Part 1 is in Mark 6:1-6, where Jesus models for His early followers what He’s calling them to do, and in Mark 6:7-13, we see Jesus sending them out to do what they’ve seen Him do. So if you have your Bibles or a Bible app, go ahead and turn to Mark 6:1-13 with me, and, if you would, let’s stand together out of respect for the reading of God’s Word.
Part 1: Mark 6:1-6
He [Jesus] went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
Part 2: Mark 6:7-13
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
You may be seated. Does it ever seem to you like the Christian life seems awfully hard? And I’m not even talking about the struggles we have with temptation and trying to do the right thing, and trying to be nice to people, and trying to drive like a Christian should drive (whatever that looks like)! I’m talking about the whole “missional” thing of Jesus sending us out, and it’s not always fun, and it’s not about us, and it just tends to cut against the grain of our—let’s be honest—selfishness and what our culture teaches us: it’s all about you; have it your way; you deserve a break today!
If we’re going to really get serious about this whole “Jesus thing” and what it means to be in a relationship with Him, we’re going to need a lot of help, and we’re going to need to see a picture of what this really looks like. And that’s exactly what Jesus has given us. Not only a picture of what His early followers did, but He gave us Himself as the exact model of what He’s calling us to do!
That’s the first part of what we read about in Mark 6:
Part One: Here’s how you do it (Mark 6:1-6)
If you’re new here at E91, and you walk in the front door on a Sunday morning, and you don’t know anybody—which may describe some of you here today—let’s say you’ve got three children with you, 4, 8, and 12. How do you feel if you walk in, and someone holds the door open for you, welcomes you kindly, and then you ask, “Where do I take my kids?” How do you feel if that person says, “Oh, you walk toward that counter, then hang a left, go past a sitting area, down the hallway, you’ll see a playground on the left, and then you’ll eventually run into another counter with some other people who can help you check in your kids.” You feel lost! You’re trying to remember those instructions, but today it was all you could do to get everybody up in time, dressed, and out the door, and now you’ve got someone giving you a verbal road map, and you forgot everything beyond the, “You’ll come to a counter” part.
Now, compare that to this experience: Same scenario. You’re new, three children, 4, 8, 12. You walk in on a Sun. morning where you’re nicely welcomed, and you ask, “Where do I take my kids?” And the person says, “Well, how about if I show you? Just follow me.” You see, it’s a totally different experience when someone shows you rather than just tells you!
Now, we know this. It isn’t rocket science. And that plays itself out in so many areas of life. But then it comes to this follow Jesus-thing, and we’re like a cow at a new gate! And you know what? I think Jesus’ early followers were just like that, too. So, the amazing thing is that Jesus didn’t just say, “I’m going to send you out, and you need to go this way and do that, and then come over here, and do this.” No, no. The first thing Jesus did was show us how to do it! For everyone who’s willing to follow Jesus, here’s what he shows us:
- Jesus shows us how to share truth (v. 2)
“On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue.” Remember the ice road truckers? They had something to carry to people who were in need. Jesus was bringing truth to those in need.
- Jesus shows us that there will be obstacles (vv. 4-5)
“And they took offense at him.” The road we travel won’t be easy. There are obstacles.
- Jesus shows us that not everyone will receive it (v. 6a)
Jesus “marveled because of their unbelief.” This is like an ice road trucker going to all that trouble to bring in supplies and people simply say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
- Jesus shows us how to persevere (v. 6b)
“And he went about among the villages teaching.” Even if not everybody received it? Even though not everybody received it. Jesus persevered. I want to say a word to our graduates here on Graduation Sunday. You’re being sent out, whether you’re heading on to college or to work, and the question is, Who are you following? You’re going to follow someone. We all do. Either our culture, our friends, or what our world defines as success. Why not follow Jesus who shows us how to live life and how to go out and serve with a purpose. Because once we’re following Jesus, then He will say to us--
Part Two: Now go do it (Mark 6:7-13)
It’s because of v. 1 that the disciples were ready for v. 7. V. 1, “His disciples followed Him” (v. 1). V. 7, “And he called the twelve and began to send them out” (v. 7).
It’s time for us to be sent out. Many Christ-followers have biblical knowledge that far exceeds their level of obedience. I’m not against us learning the Bible, by all means, but when people read about Jesus in the Gospels, and then they look at our lives, and they say, “You don’t look very much like Him,” then something is wrong!
Back in the 18th century, God moved in the heart of a man who had been a wealthy Count by the name of Zinzendorf. He started a prayer movement that went 24 hours a day for that went without interruption for more than 100 years. This birthed a movement that led 1 out of every 60 Moravians to become missionaries to the Virgin Islands, Greenland, N. America, S. America, S. Africa and Labrador. Imagine 1 out of every 60 of us being sent out. Well, guess what, one out of every one of us already is. It just comes with the territory. You follow Jesus? Tag, you’re it. You’re sent out. Now, before you shudder and groan and think you’re going to have to move to Greenland (although for someone here, it might! We don’t know), recognize this: start where you are. Grow where you’re planted. And in case you need a little more guidance than that, don’t worry, Jesus gives that to us as well.
- Do life and ministry together (v. 7a)
Jesus sent the twelve out two by two.
- You have authority, so use it (v. 7b)
Jesus gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
- Rely on Jesus more than “stuff” (vv. 8-9)
Jesus sent them out with only a staff.
- Be consistent (v. 10)
They were told to stay in one house until they moved on to the next village.
- You will have opposition (v. 11)
Jesus said not everyone will receive them.
- Now go do it (vv. 12-13)
“So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.”
There are many times in life where we don’t want to take a step forward, because we don’t know if we’re ready. When I graduated from high school, and before I left home to go to college, I remember standing in front of our family pictures hanging on the wall and thinking to myself, This is it. I’m stepping out. I’m not going to be here in my room anymore, except when I come home to visit. And, I’m being honest, I was scared. I didn’t feel like I was ready. But it was my time to step out and just go.
I remember when I was standing at the altar waiting for my bride to walk down the aisle. The music started, she and her dad began walking down the aisle, and, I’m just saying, I had a moment of panic—because that was it. No turning back. Was I really ready? But it was my time to step out and go.
When Laura and I came home from the hospital after Will was born, I remember walking into our house with this brand new baby, and I thought, Am I ready?? But it was my time to step out and go.
When Laura and I received a call to go to New Orleans back in 2001 to go plant a church, I thought it was crazy. Was I really ready? But it was our time to step out and go.
If I had waited until I always felt like I was 100% ready, I probably would have never left home, never gotten married, never had kids, never gotten into church planting.
Whether you are a graduate, or maybe you’re new in your relationship with Jesus, or maybe you’ve walked with Christ your whole life, Jesus shows us how to do it—how to live a life of purpose and mission and joy and how to have an impact in the lives of others—and then he says, “Now, go do it.”
When you leave here today, know that you are empowered by the One who has overcome the grave, and it is His power that enables you to go serve, to go where Jesus is calling you to go, to volunteer in the community to step out of your comfort zone, to cross the ice like those Ice Truckers, to face whatever it is you might have to face, because you’re not going it alone. You have the presence of Jesus Christ with you, and He will walk with you every step of the way.
We are sent out to bring truth, to bring hope, to bring new life, and you and you and you and I can do this from day to day where we work, where we go to school, where we live. Jesus showed us how to do it, and now He says to you, “Now you go do it.” Let’s pray.