Eleven: Day 13
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”" Matthew 28:16-20
Jesus did not say “Go and make disciples.” He said, “Go therefore and make disciples,” pointing back to a previous fact that makes sense of the command to make disciples. It is common – and no bad thing – to hear talk of the imperative to “go” to the nations for mission work or to “make disciples.” But let’s make sure that we don’t leave out the divine reasoning for the command! If we leave that out, who knows what our motivations for the work of the kingdom might be! “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” These are the grounds from which we are called to make disciples of all nations.
As we have seen, the crucifixion was not really the defeat it appeared to be. It was in fact the event by which Christ took the reins of the world back from sin, death, and the devil, who had ruled it since its first inhabitants (Gen 3). But the crucifixion leaves the faithful reader with an alarming question. How could Jesus rule the world if he were dead? How could the kingdom be advanced if its King were not alive? The authority won at the cross over heaven and earth was only any good if he were alive to wield it. The resurrection is therefore the foundation of all Christian mission.
Through the resurrection, Christianity is no longer a one-sided, human work. Just the opposite, by virtue of its risen Lord, Christian mission is essentially the work of Christ, not the work of his followers. The Lord is risen, and therefore able to rule and restore his creation. The Shepherd is alive, and therefore able to seek and find his lost sheep. The Physician has healed himself, and therefore is able to cure us of our rebellious wills, darkened minds and aging bodies.
How would justice ever be dealt to the evils of this world if the Judge is dead and unable to return for judgment? How would the earth, in all of its earthquakes and famines and tsunamis and melting ice caps, be subdued into peace and restored if its Creator-King lies in its ground? And how would we be given new bodies that aren’t subject to time and cancer and mutated chromosomes if our Maker is not able to overcome the decay of his own body?
But because he has risen, let it be known that the work of the Kingdom is not a human work. It is a divine work that we have been invited to participate in. Let us not think too highly of ourselves, imagining that we are able to save the world ourselves (or even a soul for that matter).
But let us also not forget that our King invites the world into his kingdom with good news announced by our lips; our Shepherd uses our voice to call after his lost sheep; our Physician applies his healing balm through our hands. But it is his work, as the living Lord. And that is the basis of all Christian work. To miss this is to make Christianity into nothing more than another ideology, psychology, philosophy, or religion of man.
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This blog is written by the authors of Cypress Press, meant for the creative illustration and application of God's Word.