The Receptive Life

"We are beggars; this is true." (Martin Luther)

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 40

He Knows My Co-Mission

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 28:16-20

Meditation

What Jesus starts, he always intends to finish.

His three-year public ministry began with his baptism. After forty days of resisting the worldly lures of the Tempter in the wilderness, he began to proclaim good news in the region of Galilee—that, in him, the kingdom of God had arrived.

“Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”1

All throughout Jesus’ ministry, this Messianic Message trumpeted the way. His kingdom forcefully advanced, taking devils captive and setting the devil’s captives free. The Message was simple and yet it was profound: grace filled with power.

“Jesus of Nazareth is the God-Man, the Messiah promised of old. According to the Scriptures, he will suffer, die, and rise on the third day for the forgiveness of sins. Through him total and eternal life change is available to all.”

As Jesus moved throughout Galilee and Judea, the seed of the Messianic kingdom began to take root. By the time the root of Jesse had reached the city of Jerusalem, his kingdom had grown into a tree of life—many branches, much fruit. While in Jerusalem, the tree showed its strength. The debt of sin was nailed to its trunk, death climbed its limbs and ravaged its fruit, and though struck by the devil’s ax, the tree budded new life on the third day.

Now it’s time for kingdom roots to spread beyond Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee. It’s just not about the natural branches of Israel anymore; there are many foreign limbs that are ready and waiting to be grafted onto the tree. The good news is that even spiritual deadwood has a place on this tree of life. Salvation’s fruit hangs low and there’s enough for all nations to reap.

In the cross and the empty tomb, the Messianic mission has been accomplished. 

A commission comes next.

The King’s Message needs messengers: sent ones authorized and empowered to deliver grace to the grace-less of the earth. The seed of the Message needs to be scattered day after day: every way, everywhere, right up to the end of the age. What the King began needs to continue.

Knowing that his time with his disciples is growing short and that the arm of his gospel message needs to be long extended, Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee. With the authority that he received from his Father, he commissions them.

“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”2

It’s more than a mission; it’s a co-mission. He will go with them.

Immanuel—the God with us—will remain true to his nature. Jesus will always be with his disciples. His promise is his presence, no longer visible but always there, among, in and through them. What took place at the incarnation will continue. The Son of God will still be living in their neighborhood. He’s not packing up or moving out. He won’t leave them orphaned.

They’re going to do this mission together.

Through them, day after day, far and near, right up to the end of the age, Jesus will finish what he started. He’ll speak his words through their mouths. He’ll feed, clothe, and tend the hurting through their hands. Their legs will carry him to places where his sandals never walked. He’ll give them the keys to the kingdom of heaven and, as they proclaim the Message, they’ll see the prisoners set free and the doors of death and Hades bolt shut.

Shortly after the commission on the mountain in Galilee, Jesus gathers with his disciples for the last time. His final words are about the kingdom of God. He reminds them that life in the kingdom isn’t about absolute power but amazing grace:  sacrifice for sin; servant not lord; denial of self; carrying the cross; a posture of humility over positions of glory. As he finishes, he tells his disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem.  The gift that he and his Father had promised—the Holy Spirit—was about to come. The Holy Spirit would bring power to propel them to the ends of the earth.

As soon as his last words were spoken, he was taken up into the air and disappeared into a cloud. As the disciples stood gazing into the sky, two men dressed in white appeared and asked,

“You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”3

With one eye to the sky and another to the ends of the earth, the disciples begin. It’s more than a mission; it’s a co-mission. They don’t walk or work alone. But while their Master is at work through them, he’s also working in them. He’s living and active, finishing what he started in them, until the day he reappears.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.4

Reflection

What does is mean to be commissioned by Christ?

How is the Great Commission your commission? How does the living and active Christ empower you to carry that mission out?

How does the certainty of Christ’s reappearance change the way you lead your life?

Why is it so comforting to know that what Christ started he will also finish?

Prayer

Father,

Like the disciples, I need more than a mission; I need a co-mission. I’ve had enough of my own well-laid plans and carefully thought out mission statements. I have found that such pursuits promise much but deliver very little. They are void of any lasting meaning. What I long for is an eternal purpose filled with the promise of your Son’s presence and fueled by your Spirit’s power.

During this day, assure me that, what your Son began in me, he will bring to completion. May he take all of my false starts and abandoned endings and work in them a new beginning. Remind me that, though there is formative work to be done in my life, one day the Savior will bring me to a flourishing finish when he reappears. Thank you for grafting me—spiritual deadwood—into the tree of life. Please use me to bear much fruit for your kingdom.

In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

1Mark 1:15   2Matthew 28:18-20    3Acts 1:11    4Philippians 1:6

All Scripture references in the meditation are marked by italics and are taken from the Gospel reading for the day. Those verses quoted outside of the chosen reading for the day are noted. All Scripture quoted in this post is taken from THE MESSAGE: Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001 & 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

Updates

If you would to like sign up and receive updates to this site, enter your email address below: