“Jesus came near [to His disciples] and said, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 26:18-20)
Following His death and resurrection, Jesus opens this discourse in Matthew 28:18 by reminding His disciples, “All authority has been given to me[.]” Even in this last appearance before ascending to heaven, He confirms His identity yet again by fulfilling the prophet Daniel’s prophecy about the Son of Man establishing an “everlasting dominion.” (Daniel 7:13-14) For those familiar with Hebrew Scripture’s prophecies of the Messiah, what an impossible yet glorious moment this must have been!
This wasn’t the first time Jesus had commissioned His followers based on His authority. When teaching, preaching, and healing, Matthew 9:35-38 tells us Jesus was moved with compassion for the people. Comparing their widespread, desperate need for a savior to a harvest groaning to be collected, He asked His disciples to pray to the Lord of the Harvest. “Lord” is translated from the Greek kyrios, meaning authority. As the One who possesses all authority in heaven and on earth, He commissions His followers as workers to reap an abundant harvest.
What does it mean to be commissioned by Jesus, often called being “on mission”? Every believer is called to a mission field whether it’s abroad, in our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, or even our churches. Jesus calls us to be His missionaries. (Mark 13:10, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-48)
Scholar, theologian, and bishop N.T. Wright asserts, “The church’s task is to proclaim the Lord Jesus, to summon people to follow him with faithful allegiance, to nurture believers so that they become holy disciples […]” (The New Testament In Its World)
Mr. Wright cautions those on Christ’s mission to avoid arrogantly thinking we can build the kingdom as he explains we are builders for the kingdom. Christ already paid the price and will re-establish His kingdom when He returns; our role is to reflect the love, peace, and joy exemplifying the new creations that Christ followers become. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Early apostle and preacher, Paul, expressed similar encouragement in his letter to the church at Galatia. (Galatians 5:22-26) We are image-bearers of Christ (Genesis 1:26-27), reflecting Him to our world. This mission isn’t just to get people to Heaven, but to show them the grace and hope they can have as believers while they still inhabit the earth.
This is why we pray for a mission.
Pray to our Lord of the Harvest,
who sees the fields ripe and needing workers.
Pray for workers,
pray for a field to work in,
pray for open doors and divine appointments to share the Gospel.
Such prayer aligns our minds and hearts with God’s. If we aren’t in alignment with His purpose, then we can fall into a trap of thinking it’s all about us. If our mission isn’t God-led, we easily become self-absorbed and proud and God gets no glory. We also run the risk of being all about the numbers, rather than reflecting Christ’s unconditional love.
Just as Jesus redeemed and discipled His first followers, giving them grace and lavish love, so too is our mission to point to redemption through Jesus, then disciple believers. No one is beyond the reach of God: not our supervisor at work, not our in-laws, not our grumpy neighbors, not our children. It is our job as believers to show love and grace to others, telling them the wonderful news of freedom and eternal life in Christ. (John 5:24)
Twenty centuries later, the teachings of Christ and the Word of God (Scripture) still matter. There are still souls to be saved (by God) and nurtured (by us) . . . even our own.
If you don’t yet know of the unconditional love of Christ, it’s there for the asking!
Repentance is simply acknowledging the sin in your life, and your desire to turn away from it. When we repent, ask for forgiveness, and accept Christ’s love for us, He will continue His sweet work within us, and invite us into partnership on His mission, for the rest of our lives.
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!