Matthew 28: 19-20, Acts 1:8
“GO” Jesus said to His disciples. By example He had done that very thing when He left the glories of heaven to come to earth. Often when we think of that word we conjure up images of foreign lands, differing tribal customs and unknown languages. We don’t think we can handle all of that, nor do we feel “called”. So what does Jesus mean – is that really a command, and it is a command, only for a few?
The Apostle Peter, addressing “God’s elect, strangers scattered throughout…” [the then known world] (1 Peter 1:1), said “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood….a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9). Are you a chosen a child of God? What is God’s purpose in drawing people like you and me into His family? How thrilling is it that we have an eternal purpose as children of God? It is to these people that Jesus left His last commission.
However, in focusing on the word “Go” we sometimes forget the rest. “Make disciples”. A disciple is exactly what Peter described, a person belonging to God, one who follows in the steps of Jesus. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you” (1 Peter 2:21). We need to remember the tremendous cost of our becoming children of God. This is no casual adoption but was made with great care (Ephesians 1:5). Peter goes on to remind us, you and me today, that Jesus suffered for us, “leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps” (2:21).
So, we are chosen, called and equipped to follow Jesus’ example of making disciples. Where do we do that? Jesus left us in no doubt. We are to start in Jerusalem – that is, at home. It is a lot harder to live for Jesus in a place where people know us well, our foibles and weaknesses. They know how to pull our triggers, and can test our sincerity. Once we pass that test, of making our words and deeds match, then we are ready to go into Judea. Where is your Judea? Is it the work place? Your community? Your church? Isn’t it curious when Churches promote “Outreach” they think beyond their doors? Yet, if the truth be known, there are a lot of folks who go to church who need discipling so that they, in turn, can make disciples.
Some believers are called to go “to the ends of the earth”, but Samaria lies between. Have you ever had a “Samaria” experience? This is where people have a different belief system, whether it is atheistic of New Age, or one of the other great world religions. Samaritans had corrupted the purity of the Jewish faith, making a syncretic system by combining faith in God with the Assyrian religion. Do you understand Jesus enough to lovingly explain what you believe, to share the wonderful relationship you have with the Lord Jesus Christ with people who have adopted wrong ideas about Christianity? In Samaria we may find folks who have been wounded by the legalism of an errant church. How can we encourage their faith in Jesus? Samaria prepares us for outreach at the ends of the earth.
Let us not forget that it is living in the light of the love of God that best enables us to share the new life we are enjoying – a life of peace because our sins have been forgiven, a life of purpose because someone reached out to show us the way. Remember Jesus said “I am the ….Way” (John 14:6). What is it that we fear about sharing Jesus with others? Are we truly in love with Jesus? Or, is it that we know our words and deeds don’t match? Do we feel inadequate because we don’t know scripture well enough? I have found there is always something more to learn from God’s Word. If I wait until I know it all, I would never talk to others about what I do know. In our hearts do we recognize that we are really lukewarm, or even cold, when it comes to feeling responsible for those who are lost? What is it that prevents us from honest outreach?
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)