Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Great Commission

So let's pick up the biggest elephant in the room as we talk about the Jesus commercials at the recent big football game - the fact that there was a message about Jesus at all. 

We live in an age when the world gets angry about Jesus "being shoved down our throats," when the world tells us, gosh, we don't have to talk about Him all the time. Any mention of Jesus by name gets a great big eye roll and the ears seem to shut. Then, the mouths open. 

If you really loved Jesus that much, you'd live more like Him. If you really loved Jesus that much, you'd spend your time and resources helping the poor. If you really loved Jesus that much, you'd affirm everyone else and love them the way that Jesus loved them. If you really loved Jesus that much, you'd know He doesn't care about attendance at church at a specific hour on a specific day. If you really loved Jesus that much...

Anything at all to get us to stop talking about Jesus. 

But there are two considerations we have to make when we come upon this kind of argument. 

First, there are plenty of good folks in this world who are doing good things for marginalized groups but who don't love Jesus. And the truth is that when you hear about good works being done in the world, very rarely does anyone think it's because the person doing them loves Jesus. Rather, everyone just assumes it's because that person is a "good" person. (And, by the way, almost all of us think we are "good" persons.) In fact, when we see these good deeds being done, we don't turn to church; instead, we turn to ourselves and try to inspire ourselves to be better persons....because we're good, but we're not that good. So the idea that Christians can spread the message of Christ just by doing good works in the world is completely bogus. It's nothing but the world's attempt to continue replacing the message of Christ with the message of humanism - look at all of these "good" humans. 

Second, Jesus was very clear with His disciples what He wanted them to do - go, make disciples. And the Bible follows this up by telling us, how will they ever know if no one ever tells them and how will anyone ever tell them if no one is ever sent and how will anyone ever be sent unless they actually go? Blessed are the feet of those not that feed the poor, shelter the homeless, visit the prisoner, welcome the stranger. No. Blessed are the feet of those who bring the Good News - the Gospel. The story about Jesus. 

And bringing Jesus's story requires telling Jesus's story. And telling Jesus's story requires saying His name.

There's no other way to do it. 

Ours is a mission much like that among the first disciples. Remember when Nathanael was called? He came to the words, "Come and see." Come and see a Man who is the Messiah we've been waiting for. Remember the woman at the well? She ran into the town and said, "Come and see a Man who told me everything I've ever done." Not one person met Jesus and went out into the world just to do good works in the hopes that someone else might put the pieces together and figure out they had been with Him. 

Every person who met Jesus went away talking about Him. Telling others about Him. Trying to get others to come and meet Him. 

That is our mission. 

Yes, we do the good works, too. Faith without works is dead, and the love of Jesus needs the flesh of the faithful. But the good works are not enough. The good works do not tell the story of the Gospel; we have to do that. So let us do that. 

Say His name. 

Put Him on the big screen. 

Tell His story. 

Bring the Good News. 

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