In Luke chapter 9, Jesus famously sends His disciples out on a short-term missions trip. His aim is to see them go out and proclaim the gospel in the surrounding towns and with nothing but the clothes on their back for provisions. In verse 3 He says:
Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics
Jesus is teaching His disciples to rely on Him. He is teaching them to live out the call that He gave them from the beginning: Follow me. And for us, this passage stands as a great picture of trusting in Jesus for our every need.
But we do not live in Luke 9.
We are not sent out into the world with nothing for the journey. Jesus sends us out prepared. We know this because in Luke 22, Jesus says this to the disciples:
“When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
Jesus, about to die, sends the disciples out once more, but this time, there is no short term goal.They won’t simply be getting their missionary feet wet. They are going out into a battle, a spiritual battle, one in which they will be fighting against the powers of evil itself.
This is the call that Jesus leaves for us. He says, “prepare yourselves for the coming battle. It will be hard. It will be bloody. There will be casualties. Don’t be caught without a weapon.”
John Piper refers to this call as the “wartime lifestyle”, and of this lifestyle he says:
… There is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief… There are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And… the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46). I need to hear this message again and again, because I drift into a peacetime mind-set as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth “home.” Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs” and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached peoples drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness.
May we be ready as Jesus calls us to be. He provides all we need to be prepared. Let us take what He has given us and step out into the battle that He has won by His very own blood.