Salvation in a cup of water.
The last chapter ended with a quote from Jesus longing for workers to spread his message. It segues into him sending out the disciples as proxies in this chapter.
It’s a lean evangelistic organisation, low on infrastructure, and with zero budget.
Big on action. Big on trusting that God, who knows when each sparrow falls and how many hairs are on your head, won’t let you starve; won’t let you get tongue tied.
His instructions veer from tender to uncomfortably savage.
Expect rejection and betrayal. Work/life balance is summarised by “not peace but a sword”, that will cut apart families.
It’s low on theology. Their message is that “the kingdom heaven has come near”. They heal and drive out demons. The people who are going to, will get it. And don’t persist teaching if they don’t get it; move on.
The people are profoundly misled, the message has to cut through. Growing up with the devil running their house, they resemble him.
But any response will do. Even a person who just offers them a cup of water will not lose their reward.
It’s nothing much like our church, but the expected negativity is a lot like our world. That’s not necessarily damning of the church, but its notable how much he’s emphasising an awareness of the spiritual dimension lying close to the surface in all our interactions.
Part of the difference is that Jesus was time poor. I’m closing in on double his life span. He had stuff to do, which made their ministry of necessity itinerant. I have multi decade relationships in communities.
The lean-ness and the sensitivity to response seems to me like he’s preparing the disciples to be in a sort of spiritual mindful state. Present in the moment with their wits about them to read that spiritual dimension.
It’s mind-bending teaching.
Hebrews talks a lot about entering into god’s rest. But on earth that rest is alert, awake. On the upside, heaven is nearer and less complex than you would think. It’s always there in the background of your interactions.