Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Jesus, Are YOU Serious? - Mark 16:15-18

JESUS, Are YOU Serious?
Mark 16:15-18
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signswill accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;they will pick up snakeswith their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
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BlogFam, Let me jump right into today’s text and confess to you that I have NEVER participated in an exorcism to drive out any demons.  I speak in a tongue that can be understood by most – English.  The only snakes I have met have been locked up with safety barriers between me and those slithery creatures at a few city zoos.  The liquid poisons that I do have are used to clean my house and are not kept next to the bottles of water in my refrigerator.  AND I have not experienced the immediate recovery of the sick when I have laid my hands on them as a point of contact in prayer. I had to get that out there FIRST! Now, I do not doubt that there are believers around this world who have probably had one or all of these experiences but I am not one of them.
So, now the question I must ask myself, and that I ask you,especially if you share my testimony, is this: WHY NOT?
In today’s text, JESUS says:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Now, that is the relatively easy part of His final words to the disciples in Mark 16. We can deal with going and preaching, believing and baptizing.  Those are actions that we are comfortable with doing and exposing others to.  We can talk about these things.  This is easy.  We might be a little uncomfortable with His statement of condemnation but we will work through that and find love somewhere even in that.  We will.  We can handle this part of our Lord’scommand.  BUT Jesus keeps talking and its these signs that give us a little trouble.
And these signs willaccompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes withtheir hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all;they will place their hands onsick people, and they will get well.”
Jesus, are you serious?
My sistas and brothas, Be honest.  When is the last time you actually witnessed any of these things happening in YOUR presence? Have YOU led a driving out demons service?  Have YOU ever picked up a snake with YOUR hands, simply because you believed in the power of God to keep you?  When is the last time YOU poured a glass of bleach on the rocks or made a smoothie of dishwashing detergent?  Have YOU ever laid hands on anyone and they immediately got up and walked out of the nursing home or hospital?  Well, neither have I! BUT Jesus seems to think that these are the kinds of things that we should be doing as SIGNS of our belief.  And right now, at first glance, ALL I can say is Lord, HELP THOU MY UNBELIEF!!!
Jesus said - And these signs WILL accompany those who believe:
And YES, Jesus is serious.
So, perhaps we need to look at this question of WHY WE HAVE NOT OR DO NOT experience these signs with a wider lens. Perhaps our lens must be one that INCLUDES the figurative ways in which the power of God has worked through our witness such that these things perhaps have happened in other tangible and miraculous ways.  I do think that the FIRST thing that we MUST acknowledge that ALL of these signs will accompany those who believe and who do them IN THE NAME OF JESUS.  Jesus is clear that we are not to attempt any of these things without believing in the power of God to move in all of these situations IN THE NAME OF JESUS.  In JESUS name these signs will accompany those who believe.  So, if you do not BELIEVE and if you are not acting in the name of Jesus, well, these signs will probably not follow you – literally or figuratively.
Furthermore, as I consider this text with a wider lens, perhaps, I need to retract my earlier statement of not having had these signs accompany me.  Because when I think about some of the people I have dealt with or endured, I think some of them would qualify as having demonic ways, venomous tongues, sneaky snakes in the grass, poisonous attitudes,and sickly spirits that have not recovered. Do you know anybody that could fit any of these descriptions?  I do. AND IN JESUS NAME I have had to pray for them and serve with them and continue to help them and share with them and sacrifice in spite of them and I think that being able to endure them is a sign that has accompanied my belief. 
Friends, maybe I am pushing this too far but then again, I do not think so.  I believe that the words of our Lord fit the literal and the figurative experiences of those who believe that everything He speaks is truth and will be truth for our lived reality.  Perhaps, today we ALL just need to ask the Lord to HELP THOU OUR UNBELIEF!  Help us Lord to obey ALL that you have commanded us to do.  Help us to believe ALL that you have said we will do.  Help us to do ALL that you said we would do IN JESUS NAME. 
So, BlogFam, as you go throughout this day, THANK GOD that everything that might scare you about these signs Jesus said would accompany those who believe is possible, through you, by the power of God - literally and figuratively - IN JESUS NAME.  And YES, He was serious about that!
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