Rev. Martha Jacobs
Sent Out to Heal
Psalm 24, Mark 6:7-13
Sunday, July 8, 2018
When I read our Gospel reading for today, what stood out was the healing that the disciples were sent out to do. Because I am dealing so much with healing, not only in my own family, but for my church family as well, it is not surprising that my heart would gravitate to the healing part of this reading.
Jesus sends the disciples out without any visible protection or even food for sustenance. What he does send them out with, is power and authority; his power and authority.
One of the things I realized when working on this sermon, is that the disciples understood what Jesus was teaching them, at least about healing. Many times, in my sermons, I talk about the disciples not getting it – not understanding what Jesus is trying to teach them. Here, surprisingly, the disciples don’t question or wonder if they will be able to do what Jesus is asking them to do, or at least the writer of the Gospel of Mark doesn’t record that, which does happen elsewhere. So, it is interesting that they do seem to understand the healing aspect of Jesus’ ministry. My guess is that they were so taken with his ability to heal, that they didn’t even question Jesus when he said he was giving them the ability and authority to heal.
By giving power and authority to the disciples, Jesus was showing his willingness to share the gifts he had with those he was teaching. He wasn’t afraid that they were going to out-do him or that people would start following one of his disciples instead of him. He wasn’t afraid to share God’s love because he knew that that love was bottomless and would sustain not only him, but all of God’s creations.
Jesus knew there was more than enough love to go around and by giving power and authority to his disciples, he was showing that he trusted and loved them. Being given power and authority is scary; it should be scary because, unless it is used wisely and with great care, it can insidiously infect whole communities as we are witnessing these days.
I wonder if the disciples felt any different. I know that when I am doing something that God would have me do, I feel different inside – not sure I can describe it – but I feel more confident, even if I am a bit scared. I am willing to take the risk involved, even if I am not sure how it will come out.
There is a power behind what Jesus asks us to do – when we follow in the way that he teaches us: in speaking out against injustices, when we stand up against those who care less for our neighbor, and when we challenge those who use their authority unwisely and dishonestly. When we do challenge them, we make a difference for those who are impacted by the negative decisions being made. We may not fully succeed, but we can and must try to heal those who are being harmed as well as those who are harming. You see, they too need healing; but unless they are open to it, healing can’t happen.
Sometimes, when I am with someone who is hurting, I forget that Jesus has given me, and all of us, the power to heal. To be clear, I am talking about healing – not curing. There is a difference – you can’t always be physically cured. As I learned through my work as a hospital chaplain, there are all kinds of healing – healing of relationships, healing of hurts, of betrayals, of disappointments. Healing is not always physical. Sometime physical healing is not possible. But, that doesn’t mean other healing can’t happen. Sometimes, Jesus heals people physically, sometimes, mentally, and sometimes emotionally.
Jesus healed out of love – love for each of God’s creations – and so we too can heal, because God has given us the power and the authority and the commandment to love – to love our neighbor, near and far, as ourselves. Jesus came to remind us that above all else, love is needed and should be first in our priorities in this world.
So, if you doubt that Jesus has given you the power and authority to help heal our world, this morning, I invite you to revisit those doubts. You are a part of this community of faith because we believe in the power and authority of God that leads us, and requires that we love each other. That includes helping each other to heal, as we pray each Sunday during our pastoral prayer. Further that power and authority are evident whenever I ask you to join with me in praying for someone who has a need for healing.
Like the disciples, we are powerful witnesses to the compassion and healing love of God and Jesus. It requires our faith and our ability to reach out to those who are hurting, whether it be physical, spiritual, mental or psychological. We don’t need to understand what someone is going through in order to reach out to them, comfort them, be with them and help them heal.
Acts of kindness and compassion and healing are holy. What we do matters, and today, as we put ourselves into the shoes of the disciples, we can own that Jesus equips and commissions us to be agents of grace and love and healing, to carry on his ministry. We are partners in Jesus’ ministry. God invites us to join with God in doing everyday acts of kindness, which are not so every-day – they are extraordinary because they make a difference for those around us.
I see that each and every day here at FCC. And, your love and healing prayers have made a difference for me personally, and I know they have made a difference in the lives of members and friends of our church as well as total strangers. God sees what we do and God blesses and affirms our work.
God has given you the power and authority to heal and God works through each one of you to love, bless, heal and care for this world.