Consider what disciples were experiencing at this moment. Jesus unexpectedly returned. They thought they lost their leader and the Jewish leaders would be coming for them at any moment. To their surprise, Jesus shows up instead of the Jewish leaders. The surprise doesn’t end there, though.
He’s leaving. I’m sure that they were thinking things are about to go back to the way they used to be: traveling with Jesus, sermons, big crowds, and miracles. Only that’s not what Jesus has in mind. Jesus returns only to leave, but he leaves behind the Church and gives the Church a mission.“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Those words are just as shocking as the appearance of Jesus. He came back, and now he’s leaving, and he’s leaving it all up to us. It would have been easier if Jesus had come back and stayed. There are days when I wish Jesus was here and share the gospel instead of trying to do it for him, but he left us to do it.
When Jesus left, he gave us the mission to go into all the world and make disciples. Most Christians know this, but the problem is we aren’t living like it. We act like it’s a mission for someone else or it’s a mission to another place. Instead, it’s a mission here and now, right where we leave.
In Acts 1, the disciples are given the charge to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. This is an assignment to tell people about Jesus both near and far. In his book Life on Mission, Tim Harlow writes,Jerusalem is the place you have to start. We’re simply talking about the people who live next door. We don’t have to get on a plane. In most cases, we don’t even have to learn a new language. So if 195 million people don’t go to church, and the fastest growing religious group is those who believe in nothing, I think it’s safe to say that we live in a mission field.2
If you follow Jesus, you have been called to live out the mission that Jesus gave us to be his witnesses. This mission doesn’t start in another country, it starts in your neighborhood. At Westbrook, we’re going through the book Life on Mission. My goal is to share with you each week about what a Life on Mission looks like. I hope that you’ll join me.
Here’s a few questions from Life on Mission to get you thinking:
- Think about your life. Where has God given you influence?
- Where are you already connected with other people?
- When was the last time you thought about the eternal destiny of the people around you?