Jesus said to His disciples:
You shall be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”
And then He was taken up to heaven.
At the time of writing, most aeroplanes have been grounded, as the whole world succumbs to the worldwide Coronavirus epidemic. The skies that were once busy with numerous aircraft taking people all over the world, is now quiet. It was unusual to see a solitary aircraft making tracks across the sky.
It makes us wonder how this will affect future mission. We’re used to hearing of people travelling across the globe to third world and other countries, to bring both humanitarian aid but also to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. He told us in Matthew 28:19 to:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
We are called to “go” – that is known as the Great Commission – to go and make disciples all over the world. We are called to share the Gospel all over the world, to make Jesus known; to tell people that He is their hope, He is their saviour and their salvation; that He wants everyone, all over the world, to be saved and to inherit everlasting life; that He wants everyone, everywhere, to follow Him and His ways; to make the world a better place.
We face enormous difficulties right now. We face a worldwide pandemic that – in my opinion – has reached Biblical proportions. Over half a million people throughout the world have died, and we are only at the start of the pandemic. People are beginning to wonder why this is happening. It makes us more appreciative of normality, which we take so much for granted. What is God telling humanity through all of this? How fragile is our world? What will be the next pandemic, and how much more serious?
Throughout it all, we are still called to mission! But we can’t fly off anywhere right now. When Jesus taught His disciples, and as we follow that teaching, we realise that He gave us a blueprint: “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”
They were in Jerusalem when Jesus taught them that message, and He taught them to start exactly where they were right then – in Jerusalem. And from there, they were to tell people about Jesus throughout Judea – that’s the region where Jerusalem was placed. Only after that were they to go to Samaria (the neighbouring region) and to the ends of the earth.
So, at this time, when we are unable to travel all over the country, let alone all over the world – let’s make mission local. Let’s tell people about Jesus where we are right now. If your household doesn’t know about Jesus, let’s tell them; if your family don’t know about Jesus, let’s tell them; if your neighbours don’t know Jesus, let’s tell them; if your village, town or region don’t know Jesus, let’s tell them.
As we face the future, as we follow Jesus; we are full of hope, and we are full of peace. Fear does not feature – or should not feature – in our thinking. And it’s our mission to share that with the world.
May we pray …
Heavenly Father, we are called to be Your witness, we are called to tell people about your previous Son, Jesus. Fill us with your hope and your peace, deliver us from any fear. Keep us safe, keep us well, protect us from harm. And help us share the good news of the Gospel with our households, our families, our neighbours, our villages and our towns and regions. In Jesus’ name. Amen