3:48 PM

Take no bag for the journey. Steve M

Luz points to vv. 8-10 as a re framing of an older equipment regulation. Here there is an emphasis on self-denial: to "give freely", and to "take no bag for the journey." Hauerwas similarly points out that the disciples "are not too receive any money for their work" and to "bestow the peace of God on those who provide hospitality (v. 13)." Given the "extreme" nature of this call to modern sensibilities, how are such words to be taken today? Furthermore, how does the bestowing of peace relate to the disciple's supposed poverty? Is there a necessary link between the two? How does one reconcile this with other instances in which the command is "softened" or even eliminated entirely as in Luke 22:36?

If we view poverty as a legitimate command, how can we reconcile this with modern Christendom? Is there "literally not a single honest priest," as Kierkegaard believed? I think that the command to poverty of verses 8-10 is intimately connected with the latter verses 33, 38, 39, etc. Here we are presented with a Christianity that is inherently offensive--that cannot be rationalized or mediated. Verse 32's statement on acknowledgment is further illuminated by Matt 11:6. Is there then something inherent in wealth/security that suggests a lack of trust in God or a being offended by God? And if so, how is the Church to deal with the implications?

*informal note- what does poverty and offense say about Christianity--about Christ? If we could sweep the offense under the carpet and gain more converts would it be worth it? So, although we are not 1st c. Jews or Greeks, but rather 21st c. westerners, it would seem that there still has to be something innescapable about the offense. It is so weird--almost surreal to me how we Christians, so immersed in and formed by modern, rational thought, find a way to believe in Christ....to fit him in to our lives.--Because, when you think about it, we shouldnt--If we thought about it, most probably wouldnt. (vv 38-39) We are, as Hauerwas points out, "to be like the teacher" (v 25), a likeness that "insures that we will be maligned" (Hauerwas 111). I am reminded of the Kierkegaard quote, "to be a Christian...is hell in this life." Compare this to much of Christendom...

Comment (1)

Surely you're right that our witness to the Kingdom of God is threatened by our addiction to material "independence." Just think of how we feel when we have to "impose" on someone b/c we need money or a place to stay. We typically ascribe authority to people precisely b/c they promise to guarantee us security, while Jesus announces a Kingdom that deprives you of it. I'm sure you're right that many of us are Christians only because it happened before we knew what we were getting into. Jesus is certain not what many of us (esp. in America) are banking on and hoping for.

Of course we should mention that the passage describes the profile of Jesus' ambassadors while on this mission. Perhaps Peter still had a home to return to in Capernaum. Or was he to go on living this way regardless of the circumstances for the rest of his days? One thing seems certain: the disciples cannot introduce the Kingdom of God as self-sufficient emissaries. The Kingdom somehow lives in their need for hospitality. If we ever think we're channeling Jesus without that, I'm sure we're wrong. It is difficult to find a way between romanticizing poverty and minimizing the scandalous conditions in which the power of the Kingdom comes.

Notice how much trouble Paul has with this. He says he's a laborer worthy of his food but then works to sustain himself anyway to show that his gospel is not for sale (e.g., 1 Cor. 9). The Didache warns against itinerant prophets/teachers who do not follow the model of Mt. 10.

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