What Jesus treated as basic discipleship in his time on earth we’ve made into a rarity and some “specialist” work.
In Mark 9 Jesus has come down from the Transfiguration and a father runs straight to him.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
Jesus isn’t understanding at this point. He is deeply disturbed. Angry.
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
Why? Because he is the Rabbi and they are his disciples. The mark of a good rabbi was transferring of authority. The ability to transfer teaching and practice marked a rabbi worth following. The disciples were failing.
What had they failed on? How to set the Table for Eucharist? How to read the Gospel during the service? Wearing the proper stole on a particular Sunday? How to take the Eucharist to a homebound parishioner?
They had failed to cast out a demon and heal a sick boy.
I grew up a Pentecostal church. We believed in healing. We believed in deliverance from demonic oppression. All of it.
Not once in my early discipleship was I told, “Go cast out that demon.” Not once.
If I wasn’t reading the Word regularly and praying regularly, THAT was failing in discipleship. But casting out demons? Healing people? Those were jobs for the spiritual people. You went to crusades and waited in prayer lines for the healing evangelist to do that!
Jesus’ view of basic discipleship and our basic view are very different. We are timid in our Christianity, to be honest. We ask too little. We settle for far less than what is available to us in the Kingdom of God. There is too much at stake for the Kingdom for us to be this timid.