Q: Should these two things define the church?

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mark 3:13-15)

If we in the church are an extension of the original apostolic ministry, then shouldn’t the core of our mission be defined by the tasks originally set out by Jesus? In this passage those tasks are preaching and driving out demons.

To this point in the gospel, the content of Jesus’ preaching has been the original proclamation of Mark 1:15. The kingdom has come near. Repent, and believe the good news. I have zero reason to believe the apostles were sent out to preach anything different. Is it fair to say that preaching the kingdom is the first task of those who see their ministry as in a line with the apostles?

Also to this point in the gospel, we have seen Jesus drive out demons. Here he gives the apostles the authority to do the same thing. Has the authority passed down to us today? If so, why do so few mainline United Methodists speak of such things, much less do them?

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Q: Should these two things define the church?

  1. John Wesley actually equated ‘driving out demons’ with preaching that resulted in someone giving their lives to Jesus. After all, we are all under the devil’s control and influence until we are born-again.

  2. “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And so the story starts in Mark. Mark tells the least of preaching or teaching content. The parables it records connects the expression of God’s reign in the context of life as Jesus was present. His mission expressed the nature of kingdom in his words and actions.

    The parables propel both present demonstration of what Jesus means about God’s reign and also anticipation of the fullness that grows with the spreading message of God redeeming the world.

    The early preaching of Jesus and the initial sending of the apostles demonstrates a present kingdom moving and spreading. Before the 3rd chapter, Jesus had freed a man with unclean spirit, healed Simon’s mother-in-law, cured many others who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons in Capernaum.

    He preached the kingdom and drew away demons touring Galilee and cleansed a leper in the outskirts. He heals a paralytic as he returns to Capernaum and calls a port tax collector to follow him.

    Jesus’ mission wanders around the marginal territories of Galilee and the surrounding periphery of Gentile dominated little cities before finally heading like the exodus to its final destination in Jerusalem. There the core of gospel and liturgical memory takes root for the Christian faith. A temple not made by hands begins in the core stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    We can look at bit and pieces, but Mark tells the whole story of the spreading gospel as a growing action that eventually even the women would have had to overcome their fears to tell the story of the young man in white on to others. And so we did hear the women’s story and Mark let’s us in on more of the bigger story.

    There’s a bigger story than the calling and sending of apostles and expelling demons. Preaching repentance, forgiveness, and the time of spreading God’s reign is bigger than personal lives changing but a whole world being won over by Jesus to God anew.

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