And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over unclean spirits; and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff – no bread, no bag, no money in their belt – but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics. – Mark 6:7-9
In our last post, we launched into an exploration of revolutionary hope. This hope is unlike any other, for it does not pine for relief in this world. Rather, it is a hope that grows in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances. A hope that turns desperation into expectation, despair into repair, grief into joy. It is the inexplicable hope the believer has in his or her redemption. It is, plainly put, the hope of Jesus Christ.
Revolutionary hope is something every believer has access to. But when the going gets tough, we may soon forget this. My desire, in this series, is that we might explore together how to lay ahold of this hope anew. In this post, we’re going to look at how Jesus prepared His first missionaries to cultivate this very hope. And we’ll see that He did so based on trust. In the following posts we will explore more deeply how we can build that trust in our lives.
Hope Is Built On Proper Preparation
I have taken my fair share of trips into the mission field. Whether South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, or Mozambique, one thing has been common to them all. Preparation. Second to the Gospel, it is the gospel of the missionary to go prepared. Whether it’s malaria medication, yellow-fever vaccines, visas, or gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances of the place, I never want to set foot in-country without having my ducks in a row.
As it turns out, I wouldn’t have been a very good fit on Jesus’ first team.
Forget about vaccines and visas, Jesus didn’t even allow His disciples to take bread. Money, an extra pair of shoes, that critical second set of underwear – out of the question. “But why?’ the aspiring missionary (or I) might ask. “Doesn’t it just make sense to go prepared?” Apparently not in this case.
When Jesus first sent out His disciples, He didn’t send them out to do work merely according to their ability. He sent them out to perform miracles possible only through divine power. Jesus had already promised to make them “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Now He was fulfilling that promise. But that promise could only be fulfilled through the work of the Holy Spirit. Nothing the disciples did of their own power or accord would accomplish the task at hand.
Proper Preparation Is Built On Trust
But to lay hold of the authority given them, the disciples first had to trust God. And they first had to trust God for their own provision. This much seems implied; if there was any part of their journey not yielded to the Holy Spirit, it would fail. But when they did as they were told, when they followed Jesus’ instruction, look what happened.
They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. – Mark 6:12-13
In other words, they worked miracles.
So what does this have to do with revolutionary hope? Actually, quite a bit when you think about it.
Trust Is Built On Expectation
The disciples never would have set out on their journey if, on some level, they didn’t expect God to provide. Their hope was founded on expectation, and their expectation built on trust. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” In the same way, revolutionary hope is the assurance, the expectation, that God is moving in every circumstance. It is the assurance that not only is every moment of life not lost on Him, but every moment is purposed by Him. And it is the laying hold of the promise that He will always deliver.
This hope is revolutionary because it is expectant. It is not wishful thinking hope. It is not “wow it would really be nice if God did this” hope. It is a hope that steps out knowing God will provide a way.
Now here is the key. The disciples could not have realized this hope unless they first did something themselves. And that thing, that action, was to trust. They trusted Jesus, even as He challenged them to do what common-sense would call downright foolish. In that trust, they yielded to Him and the power of the Holy Spirit. Without trust, no yielding would have occurred, and no miracle made possible.
Cultivate Hope Through Trusting Jesus
So, as we look at living with revolutionary hope, we see that it begins by cultivating such hope. And cultivating such hope begins with trusting in God. It begins with believing that in every circumstance, He will deliver the bread, the money, the next set of sandals or even underwear needed. And not only that, He will accomplish in us a part of His miraculous plan of redemption
The world that doesn’t know God doesn’t know how to trust Him. As such, to the world the hope believers have is revolutionary – it is like nothing else. More importantly, the fruit borne of cultivated, revolutionary hope is miraculous. Trust in God. Expect in Him. And in that you will cultivate revolutionary hope that bears the fruit of eternity that all long to consume, even if now they don’t know it.
Our God in heaven, we praise You and thank You that in You we have all of the hope and the only hope we ever will need. Help us, Lord, to be mindful of this. Help us to cultivate hope in You by placing our trust in You and stepping into our world knowing Your faithfulness will never fade and the hope You provide changes everything.