The Modern Day Great Commission

The Modern Day Great We are told that we are on a mission from God, in the words of Jesus to his disciples, the very last words he spoke to them after more than three years of ministry with them on earth. People’s last words are usually given a degree of importance. As recorded in Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” What does this mean to us almost two thousand years later, as we are in a vastly different age and culture?

The key is the power to be a witness
This group of rag-tag disciples who had been following a teacher and watching him perform miracles, but who did not really know who he was and did not understand the purpose for which he had come, were suddenly transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and his baptism at the Day of Pentecost. Doubting, denying and dormant disciples, who could not watch and pray with Jesus for one hour in the garden of Gethsemane, were suddenly filled with dynamic power by which Peter was able to preach and three thousand were converted.

What is our Jerusalem?
We have the opportunity to be on mission talking with our neighbor across the fence, being sensitive to and praying for a co-worker who has a sick child or is going through a difficult relationship, or getting involved in a home Bible study. There are many volunteer opportunities in most of our local churches, or with secular organizations that are working for a good cause like the Red Cross. Maybe our Jerusalem is just blessing a neighbor with a meal or babysitting.

Where is Judea for us?
Once we have learned to be effective witnesses and perform the work of a missionary locally, the next step is to reach out beyond our local church or community. Judea was closely related to Jerusalem, the City of David, and the site of the Temple for hundreds of years. For us, being on mission in Judea means that we have reached out from our comfort zone, and are now involved in an effort that is closely related to our home base, but beginning to stretch the borders, culturally and geographically. Typical opportunities may include participating in a neighborhood block party, working at the Christian thrift store, supporting 4KIDS of South Florida, or volunteering in a homeless outreach.

Where is Samaria?
After the early Christian church had become well established in Jerusalem, the apostles began to spread the word to regions beyond Jerusalem and Judea, to the region to the north where the Israelites generations ago had intermarried with foreigners, and these mixed race peoples became the Samaritans, who were hated and avoided by the true Jews. To us, our Samaria may be getting involved in a region that has a different cultural flavor. Geographically, Samaria represents South Florida, Florida, and being involved regionally or nationally in the work of Christ. It can include political action and support, a trip to inner city San Francisco, or helping out in regional disasters such as those caused by hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The ends of the earth
For those of us who are called to sell everything and move to Haiti, Columbia or Liberia, this is an obvious way to fulfill the mission. But for many of us, we have not received that calling, or God has not yet made it clear to us. But we can still be faithful and very involved in foreign missions, through child sponsorship in developing or war-torn countries, praying for missionaries daily and fervently with detailed prayer journals, supporting full-time missionaries financially, and becoming familiar with the needs of foreign missions through organizations such as Operation World. We may only have a few short years left to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, and the more knowledgeable we are, the more effectively we can pray for God’s will to be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Supporting Bible translation work through organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators is another important international missions effort. More information is available at operationworld.org and wycliffe.org.

How will you get involved?
We have our call to missions from the Lord Jesus Christ, who told us in Matthew 28 NKJV, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Whether we are involved in our neighborhood or local church (in Jerusalem), our own county (Judea), regionally/nationally (Samaria), and internationally (the ends of the earth), we are each an important member of the body of Christ in bringing the good news to all people.

Bob Woods is a Senior Project Manager at AECOM Technical Services, as well as a published Christian author and writer. He can be reached at [email protected]

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