Text: Luke 24:44-53 | Listen to Message
The How And Why of Mission
No shortage of material has been written on “The Great Commission” – Jesus’ call to his followers (including the modern church) to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. Usually the emphasis falls on the command part of this, which is a call to make a certain kind of proclamation: “[You] . . . go make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ.”
It’s a simple fact that the mission of Jesus lives on through the witness of his church. If people are going to believe in Jesus, someone’s going to have to go and tell them the Gospel and call them to repent. Jesus himself says so in the closing words of Luke’s Gospel.
Christians everywhere should be engaged in Christ’s mission to seek the lost and tell them how to be saved by grace through faith. But how can we muster up the courage to say that to people who might reject us? And why should we make that our life’s mission when an awful lot of happy people seem to be living for something else altogether?
The Gospel of Luke ends with Jesus telling us how and why.
First, Jesus tells us about the power for this mission. Where will we find the strength, the ability, the wisdom, the boldness to share Christ? Where will these words come from? Jesus reminds us that we can only do his mission in his power. He didn’t go back to heaven saying, “Now it’s your turn.” He went saying, “You’re about to be clothed with power from on high.” That power was the personal, indwelling presence of the Spirit of God.
If you can’t do what Christ commands you to do, it’s because you’re doing it in your own strength. By the same token, if you can do everything in your own strength, it’s because your mission is just that – yours, not Christ’s. If you want to do Christ’s mission but you don’t know how, this is your hope: the Holy Spirit promises to do it in you and through you as you surrender your life to him.
Speaking of promise, have you ever noticed that The Great Commission is itself a promise? Jesus says in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer AND on the third day rise from the dead, AND that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.”
See, the missionary work of the church – taking the Gospel to all peoples and nations – is just as much a promise of God as the death and resurrection of Jesus. What this means is your labor is not in vain in the Lord! Christ promises to save people all over the world through the proclamation of his Gospel – so proclaim away!
Finally, Jesus invites us to consider what a privilege it is to join in his mission. When we do Christ’s work, in Christ’s power, for Christ’s glory, we don’t just bless him . . . he blesses us in return. This is astounding! Jesus shows us here that he is eager to bestow favor, and honor, and blessing upon those who live out his mission.
And think of the privilege of the mission itself: we get the joy of inviting others into friendship with God through Jesus Christ!
The Gospel of Luke begins and ends in the Temple. You ever notice that? At the beginning, Zechariah is offering incense as the people outside prayed something like this: “God of mercy, come into your holy sanctuary and receive with pleasure the offering of your people.”
Don’t you see? This is exactly what happens in the story of Jesus – though not as the people expected. The God of mercy came into the Temple in the person of Jesus, the Son of God. By his sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection, Jesus atoned for our sins. And when the Gospel of Luke ends in the Temple, the veil has been torn open and sinners have access to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ. Now we have the privilege of inviting other broken, desperate, needy sinners to become friends with God through and because of Jesus.