Jesus gave some very explicit instruction when he said “GO!”. Each of the eleven disciples needed to learn about evangelism in order to do it in a manner that pleases the Lord. Coming from different backgrounds and having different temperaments, one only can imagine why with Jesus as their teacher, the Gospels would have on record some of the surprising statements made by them: e.g., Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, and once declared that ‘he that has seen me has seen the Father’; but Philip still said “Show us the Father.” You wonder what exactly he assumed Jesus had been doing up to that time. Indeed each disciple gives witness to the fact that imperfect men were perfected incompletely even though they had been tutored by Jesus. Pastors, it seems there is hope for us after all. Be encouraged. Shepherds inspire personal evangelism through their own individual testimony. Although a few fail to pay attention, people will observe the change made in you by God and often follow the example set before them.
Galilee was an area containing diverse ethnic groups: ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’ as it was then known. There, Jesus appointed a place wherein he could meet with his disciples after his resurrection. All attended but one, Judas who was now dead. On that mountain in Galilee they worshipped him, and heard Jesus say that ‘all power had been given to him in heaven and in earth’. Such a thought is a comfort when one is considering the command to go and teach the Gospel amid the nations of the world. The sphere of Jesus’ authority knows no bounds. Different languages, customs and cultures require varying approaches: only one Gospel is needed however. The command ‘to go’ is of importance. Despite the difficulties involved, God’s Gospel cannot be proclaimed unless learned people, who acquired knowledge of the Kingdom of God beforehand, surrender themselves to embark on their journey in faith.
There are roughly 200 nations in the world. Jesus doesn’t ask his followers to go alone. He promises to be with them unto the farthest outposts round the globe. I offer this account of Ann as an example. She was a woman who spent 50 years on the India/Nepal border. The King of Nepal’s daughter had been ill. All the gods of the area were of no value. God touched the girl through the faith of Ann, the missionary, and made her whole. Afterwards, one day this same missionary drove her jeep into a nearby village. Suddenly a lady appeared who came running alongside her vehicle yelling ‘the light has come, the light has come’.
Well, months prior, this local resident had been a dedicated follower of Hinduism. But when her husband died, a witchdoctor told her that she should go to the top of a close by mountain and throw her two children into the river to appease the gods. Obviously they were angry at the family. In despair, she climbed the hill and just as she was to dispose of her children, a ball of fire appeared in the sky. Out of that fire was heard a voice saying ‘Go down the mountain and wait. The light will come!’. Weeks later, when the missionary came driving down the road, the lady said she saw the same light (earlier viewed atop the mountain), now on top of the jeep. Thus she began to rejoice and shout, saying ‘the light is come’. She came to saving faith and inevitably went down into the waters of the river, not for death but for baptism.
WMF minister, you are the answer to someone’s problem, both here in the States and abroad; but you will not know it until you get there. So get going! And preach and baptize just as Jesus said to do it: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Baptism should evidence a real change of heart in someone, and it confirms the mighty covenant of God which exists between the Godhead and the redeemed, signifying a life of sin cleansed of sin by God. Untold millions have converted and later faced hardships and persecutions because of Christian baptism. These adversities should not hinder believers. In John 4:1, even Jesus baptized his disciples or they were baptizing others in the river.
This initiation seems to have been preparatory to their ministerial outreaches. God’s expectation is high in heaven; yet the demand placed upon Christians on earth is great. The Good News should be told to everyone and in all places. Crossing borders and traveling to and fro requires funds and other resources. Missionaries who sacrifice so much are obliged to believe God for greater things still in the eternal world to come; but each person is not prohibited from enjoying here the comforts which may accompany him or her as they go. Whether one is standing under a bamboo tree, in a mud hut, cinder-block house or in a dwelling place with a thatched roof, if God is there to help someone proclaim the Gospel, then that patch of earth becomes ‘holy ground’. So get on with the business of evangelism and preach it sister!
The month of April had a 5th Sunday. Please remember WMF missions in your giving.