A post from The Formational Pastor
Revised Common Lectionary: Ezekiel 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Mark 6:1-13
How would Ezekiel have the courage to carry on his ministry knowing that the Israelites would probably not listen to him? Or even knowing that they had been habitually rebellious against the Lord who had brought them out of Egypt into the Promised Land?
How could Paul have the courage to carry on his ministry knowing that the same Lord who had called him into that ministry now refused to remove his painful “thorn in the flesh”? Instead, after praying earnestly three times, the Lord spoke to him and said “My grace is sufficient for you.”
How could the disciples have the courage to go out and preach that people should repent, cast out many demons and anoint many sick people and heal them after the reception they saw Jesus receive in Nazareth?
In each of these readings, it was not because somebody else came to them with a word of encouragement. Not because somebody read to them a relevant Scripture (e.g., “Be strong and courageous”). Not because somebody scolded them out of their fear into action with a “suck it up, guys.”
Look at each of these incidents as Episodic Encounters with the Lord. See how these encounters encouraged Ezekiel, Paul, and the disciples, knowing that they had heard and met the Lord Himself. Consider their ministries after these Encounters – Ezekiel’s, to the rebellious Israelites with awesome visions and prophecies; Paul’s, to many other churches and believers in his missionary travels; the disciples, as they entered a powerful season of healing and demon-casting.
Encouragement, Scripture readings, kicks into action may have their places – but if we can be with the Holy Spirit as He guides people into Episodic Encounters with Him or the Father or Jesus, we’ll really see together how His Kingdom is coming!