And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Now that the 12 have seen so many miracles and heard so much teaching, they are sent out to do it themselves. They are the messengers of Jesus. They have seen a legion of demons cast out. They have seen old women healed and a young girl raised from the dead! Now Jesus gives them that same power and authority and tells them to go out.
But look at some of those funny directions. They are going out so unprepared. No staff, bag, bread, or money. These would all be things that would help you along your travels and otherwise keep you safe. You fight off wild dogs with a staff. You carry stuff, you know, like stuff you need, in your bag. You could use that money to get a room at the inn or to buy some food.
In every way, Jesus wanted to show them that they had all they needed in the power and authority He already gave them. They didn’t need an extra rain coat to stay comfortable, He is their comforter. They don’t need to carry their bread with them, He is the Bread of Life!
I have some friends that went on a hitchhiking evangelism trip. They arrived in the city and went to some projects where there would be a lot of people outside to listen to them preach. The people were semi-interested and responsive, but when the people found out the guys didn’t have a place to sleep that night — and were spending their time teaching the Bible instead of looking for a bed — many of the people just started crying. They were so moved that the guys cared more about proclaiming Jesus to them than finding a bed!
The men themselves were part of the message.
Jesus calls us the same way today — in essence. It’s not a law or a rule that you can’t preach if you are carrying bread. But preach. Don’t wait until you’ve gathered your gear or arranged all of your luxury accommodations. Get to it.
If those guys didn’t have to wait to get a walking stick, I don’t have to wait until ‘an appropriate time’ to be open about my faith to my co-workers or to my (sinful, jerk face, insert whatever judgmental adjective here) neighbor.
Since they didn’t have to take any stuff, they didn’t have to go back home to get anything. Right from that spot they were sent out to heal and to preach the forgiveness of sins.
That mandate to go everywhere is for us too. We’ve got the power and authority of Jesus. We need no accessory.