GET YOUR FEET WET (Meditations on Mark – 3)

(March 06, 2023) Richard Winter reflects some more on Mark’s gospel…

If we could ask Jesus just one question, what would you ask?

It may sound funny, odd, but what pops into my mind is a great line from a movie… ‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’ Only that it leads to the question I’d really love to ask my Lord – ‘So, Jesus, what’s it all about?’

And I’m sure the Lord would answer, ‘Richard, it’s all about Acts 1:8.’

1. Go!
‘Acts 1:8, Lord?’

This very  important scripture… ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

This scripture links with Jesus’ Mark 6:7 direction of to His friends, the first disciples! His training program then had been three years of on-the-job training and now He tells His disciples to go into all the world: a case of ‘You’ve learned how, so now go and do it. Go get your feet wet!

And they did! Jesus’ disciples boldly went out, getting their feet wet as it were, and with a new title… apostles!

The Greek word is apostolos – one who is sent into all the world and today we call them missionaries.

But note: In Mark 6:7NASB Jesus had sent His disciples out in pairs – a small team. Now we could think that this was good reasoning because lone rangers are an easy target for the devil… but behind this was the biblical understanding of…

(i) Ecclesiastes 4:9,‘Two are better than one.’
(ii) Deuteronomy 19:15…The law required two witnesses to verify any matter.

While any Christian can – and should – share the gospel, it’s interesting to read in the New Testament that  teams of two are highlighted: Peter and John (Acts 3-4), Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-3), Barnabas and Mark (Acts 15:39), Paul and Silas (Acts 15:40).

Working with someone is a strengthening partnership, a  sharing of the ministry. It’s acknowledged that individuals too shared the gospel and the church grew.

2. Wetting our feet!
Now that was back then… but it raises a pertinent question today!
Is this how the church universal is operating these days? Is your church effectively sharing Jesus?

Some would say we’re stuck at learning, like a sponge absorbing continually, rather than being a channel where fluid flows! Today, whether as pairs or as individuals, we can all go out taking every opportunity to share Jesus.

Let’s recall Acts 1:8 again. These directions are for us too in wetting our feet!

  • It’s a clarion call to obey and go.
  • When you go it will be with divine authority.
  • And you will continue the extension of Jesus’ ministry.

3. Journeying in faith
Mark 6:8-11 tells more of Jesus’ instructions: ‘Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’

In other words, they were told to ‘go lean’… sandals and staff (none of this first-class travel certain preachers demand today!). This was a comparison to the children of Israel’s exodus leaving Egypt and the bondage of the past, getting their feet wet.

But this Mark 6 leaving the current past behind and going into a new life of discovery was with a greater leader than Moses! Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8… He would be their leader, protector, provider and director! As you step out and get your feet wet, yours too will be a new journey in faith. It may be at times that you are travelling with nearly nothing… but God will provide for you (Miraculously He provided manna for Israel in their time of need).

Note: We are responsible for telling everyone the gospel message! But if hearers reject us, remember what Jesus said about shaking the dust of our feet… we are not responsible for everyone’s decision! But if listeners want to hear more, then we stay and tell them what they need to know… but make is simple, encased in love.

Rejection and acceptance is a part of life… but be a willing servant, tell someone about Jesus. You won’t have the three-year training plan that the Jesus twelve had, but hopefully you attend a Bible believing, Bible teaching church with a balanced ministries who can teach and encourage you. Dare to get your feet wet!

4. Warning – opposition ahead
Daring to get their feet wet, those first disciples sent out by Jesus were soon to learn about the sort of opposition that would face them.

a) Demonic spirit activity
One problem they faced was demonic opposition. But they had witnessed Jesus’ dealings with such and, with His authority and power, they cast them out! Mark 6:13 tells that ‘… they drove out many demons. They poured olive oil on many sick people and healed them.’ 

Uncleaned spirits and sicknesses are still around today. We too can pray with authority in Jesus’ name and expect good results too!

b) Wicked ruler activity
Then there was the tragic murderous death of a relative of Jesus! Herod who had beheaded John the Baptist (Mark 6:16-29) had heard about the twelve’s escapades, spreading the gospel news about Jesus around the territory (Mark 6:14). Herod was no friend of Jesus (Luke 13:31Mge)! And later he would mock our Saviour (Luke 23:1). Right now He warned His faithful disciples: ‘Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod’ (Mark 8:15NLT). 

But that didn’t stop the disciples from keeping on following Jesus, even though it meant being in danger from the religious, legalist Jewish leaders and a wicked governing ruler! Nor did it stop them later, nor others, after Pentecost when the church began to really grow. Sharing the good news continued!

(Thought: Who would name their son ‘Herod’? But millions of sons are today called John, USA’s third most popular name, it’s Hebrew meaning is ‘God is gracious’).

5. Rewards ahead
Is there another side to this amazing spiritual journey? Are there rewards for serving Jesus, the King of kings?

Jesus joyfully summed up our journey in Mark 10:29-30: ‘Truly I tell you … no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.’

He speaks of loss of family and worldly goods, but that there is the reward of 100 times blessing in this life. Now don’t misconstrue and misunderstand what this means! It doesn’t mean 100 homes, a 100 of each of our family members and 100 pieces of property! As Matthew Henry explained, ‘not in specie, but that which is equivalent.’

So think of those losses mentioned in verse 29 in literal terms and verse 30’s blessings in this lifetime as spiritual and in heaven eternal life! Even persecutions will result in blessings!

No wonder Hebrews10:35-36NASB says, ‘Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.’ 

6. Important notations!
It’s vital to understand how the kingdom of God works…

  • It starts in understanding the mission and the message.
  • It reveals that the kingdom of God is within each person.
  • This kingdom’s ruler rules the personal territory of each person’s heart.
  • The end is greater than the beginning, replacing losses with something far greater!
  • Consummation of our earthly service is everlasting life.
  • It’s an eternal reward… but it comes with persecutions.

I need to share a little about persecutions here… it’s important because we owe so much to those who in getting their feet wet suffered for the kingdom!

The story of John is perplexing because his godly stance, righteous message and obedient life shone as a bright light in a world that didn’t think such activities are essential for enjoying daily life. His ministry lasted for approximately only a year, Jesus’ ministry for three, Stephen’s was cut short too, the only one of the apostles generally thought to have died a natural death from old age was John, early Christians were treated cruelly under Roman rule. Others were wrongly treated even tortured down through church history (ie the religious inquisition)! We remember them with honour!

Not all of God’s rewards will be ours to have in this life. But death is not the silencing of a life lived in service to God! Saintly church leaders around the world today still remember names of godly men and women past and present who got their feet wet for Jesus – even if  most are unknown or forgotten to church attenders.

As Hebrews 11:4 shared about Abel, ‘… by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.’ Throughout history the lives of the saints of God and in particular the martyrs who gave their lives for Jesus are a trumpet call to us to live life well!

7. Co-labouring for Jesus
In getting our feet wet to continue God’s work, we are all a little afraid at times and that’s why we need a trusted friend, a partner to talk with about what we’re doing. That ‘pairing’ that Jesus set up.

As Mark D. Roberts, Fuller De Pree Center, wrote September 28, 2016: Jesus ‘… may have been thinking of the power of shared ministry, the added impact when two or more people work together toward a shared goal. This co-labouring is not only effective, but also a reflective of the theological nature on ministry in the era of the new coventant. By sending His disciples out two by two, Jesus foreshadowed the collegiality that would become the hallmark of the Spirt-filled church.

Collegialitythat’s companionship and cooperation between colleagues who share responsibility! Is it your church’s hallmark! Is your church Spirit-filled for that matter?

7. Níkē
Great things happen to godly people who are willing to get their feet wet in ministry. We gain triumphantly! The New Testament was written in Greek… so as the Greeks would exclaim: Níkē – ‘Victory!’

We need not fear evil Herod types nor death, injury, demonic forces, only having a staff and sandals, no money, bag or bread! We have authority of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20) and the power of the blessed Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)!

‘So, Jesus, what’s it all about?’

Answer: Kicking off our comfy shoe ware and daring to get our feet wet – and just doing it! Let your good works glorify Jesus… and, victoriously sharing Him, lead to increase in both the kingdom… and your church!

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Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California and will be sharing more about Mark’s gospel. Link:
OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
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