Daily Readings: Exodus 29-30, Matthew 28
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
There is a reason this is called the great commission and not the subtle suggestion. When Jesus rose from the dead his message was clear; go tell the world!
I love churches that are outreach focused. There is nothing more invigorating that being a part of a church body that truly seeks to live out the great commission. Frequently, however, many churches in America have turned into more of a club. From many cultural Christians in these churches you hear that faith is a very personal matter that they are not comfortable sharing with others. You also hear a great deal of judgment of others who are not yet in a relationship with Jesus and the choices they are currently making in their lives.
I cringe to think how Jesus would have responded to this line of thinking.
In this moment we read about today, at the climax of the story, after Jesus rose from the dead and was now speaking directly to those who were closest to him, he had the chance to deliver any message he wanted.
This was the time! Everything he had told them was going to come to pass actually happened! He conquered death! This is a time for celebration amongst friends! Time for the ultimate post game celebratory speech from a divine coach!
Jesus what would you like to tell us?
At this moment he didn’t say, “Guys, I did it! You have all been saved from your sins! Now is the time to sit back, celebrate your salvation, and enjoy time together once or twice a week reflecting on the sacrifice I made!”
He didn’t say, “Look what I accomplished! Well done for believing in me first! Now forget about those folks that have not yet heard about me, they had their chance!”
He didn’t say, “Alright, mission accomplished! Now, I want you to go to others and teach them about me…but make sure you prioritize folks from your own country in all that you do. After all, the lives of people that live within your arbitrarily drawn country borders hold more value than the lives of those outside these borders. If you have time and resources after that, then feel free to expand the scope of your outreach! But remember, country first!”
Jesus willingly gave himself up to death on a cross, rose from the dead, broke the chains of sin that previously held us captive, and paved a new path for all of us to have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe for eternity. After rising, he had one simple request.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
There were some of the disciples that God specifically called to stay and preach to the Jews in Jerusalem. There were some that were called to travel to the ends of the earth.
The world needs marketplace missionaries spreading the name of Jesus in hospitals, schools, law firms, businesses, construction sites, etc. It needs people caring for the poor, sick, and underserved right here in our country. It also needs folks generously supporting those individuals who are called abroad financially and through prayer and support. The calling on all of our lives is different, but the mission is the same.
Tell others about Jesus. Go make disciples. Have a heart that cares for all nations and views all life as inherently valuable and worth saving. And surely he will be with us always until the end of the age.
Thought to ponder
Who am I called to minister to? Is God calling me to ministry where I work, utilizing my previous life experience, reaching out in the community, or even abroad?
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