In today’s Gospel Jesus sends his disciples out two by two, to heal and preach repentance. Now remember he is sending out his “disciples” not just the apostles. The disciples are the larger group of followers, the mostly unidentified men and women following Jesus.
So he sends them “out”. Mark tells us that they go out and preach repentance and they have authority over unclean spirits. I wonder what repentance and having authority over unclean spirits have to do with each other? According to Mark they appear to be tied together and perhaps in a specific order. First comes repentance and then comes driving out demons. It seems that after repentance comes exorcism and perhaps exorcism does not happen until after repentance?
It seems clear the repentance of the people the disciples were preaching to was the main objective. With a repentant soul as a foundation, their evil spirits and their physical, emotional and spiritual suffering will be healed. Conversely an unrepentant heart is likely not interested in the exorcism of evil within themselves and not likely open to the kind of healing the disciples were offering. An unrepentant soul lacks the humility and openness to Jesus’ healing grace.
What about us? What are we concerned with? What needs to be healed within us? What evil tendencies and emotions need to be exorcised within us. Once we’ve named those things to be healed, how open are we to repentance for our life style? If we don’t see a need to repent, then we lack humility before God and the openness to the need for Christ’s presence in our life.
Everyone needs to repent for their choices and selfish tendencies. We all need to keep evolving and turning again and again back to Christ. We all need humility and an open heart to receive the healing and cleansing grace of Jesus.
Rev. James Kirby