I’m marking assignments on Luke 9:1-6. (See the post below: Good news for the rich.) As well as spiritualising the passage into safety another common approach to taming it is common.
It reminds me of the story of the boy whose Sunday School teacher asked: “What is a small furry animal with a fluffy white tail?” Who, after an embarrassed silence said: “Well I know the answer is Jesus. But I sure can’t work out how!”
In Evangelical churches we have so stressed “the gospel” that whenever something is to be preached or proclaimed we know the answer is “gospel” even if we can’t work out how. In this passage what the twelve are charged to proclaim is not called “gospel” till verse six. At the start (before they go) they are commanded to “proclaim the kingdom of God”. This message, that God (really, truly) rules, is to be shown by healing the sick and casting out demons. That is the message really is about how the loving Creator rules, and not the powers of evil that stunt and spoil our world. As I said in the previous post, that really is good news, but all too often it is not the “gospel” we preach!