By Not Known
The command of Jesus is that his people should make disciples from all ‘nations‘ (Mt 28: 19) or, as we might express it today, all ‘people groups‘.
Think about that. No part of humanity is outside the plan of God .. who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 3- 4). This includes the smallest and remotest community we glimpse on the TV nature channel. And the stubborn cousin who appears so resistant. And the ‘movers and shakers‘ at the top end of politics and business. And domestic maids, foreign construction workers and hawker stall attendants. We have a God-given command to pray and work for all these people to become disciples of Jesus.
The sheer scale and scope of Jesus’ command sounds impossible. Indeed, the making of even one disciple is beyond human ability (Mt 19: 25-26). Has Jesus given us a mission impossible?
A closer view of the Mt 28 text shows that he has not. As always, God’s command is accompanied by God’s provision (Mt 28: 20). And so, Jesus promises to be with us in his global outreach ‘until the end of the age‘.
The now-ascended Jesus empowers his church for mission through his promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 8). Acts records the fruitful mission of the apostolic church and emphasises the enabling work of the Spirit.
Ezekiel speaks dramatically of the power of the Spirit to make the impossible mission possible.
Ezekiel spoke at a time when Israel has turned her back on God and suffered the disgrace of his judgement. God warned Ezekiel that Israel would not listen because they had hard forheads and stubborn hears (Ezk 3: 8-9), equipped him with God’s work (Ezk 3: 1- 3) and gave his an overwhelming vision of God’s majesty (Ezk 1).
And God send his Spirit. Ezekiel 37 uses graphic imagery to speak of how God would bring spiritual life to Israel through his Holy Spirit.
If God could give life to the ‘dry bones’ of Ezekiel’s Israel, he can certainly empower us to make disciples from all peoples. Let us therefore bend our backs to obey the missionary command in its fullness, confident of God’s power and prayerfully dependent on his provision.