Jesus was a man on a mission. He didn’t drift through life aimlessly, nor simply adopt the cultural models of his day and age. He knew why he’d come. He knew why he’d been sent. In his own words:
- “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)
- “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
- “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
- “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Jesus wasn’t consumed with making money, getting married, living a comfortable life, or having a good reputation. He was consumed with preaching and living the gospel. His mission was to pursue the lost, to give his life for the lost. He was laser focused.
Why does that matter for us as his disciples? Because a disciple’s mission is that of his or her rabbi. Even if Jesus had never explicitly called us to proclaim the gospel and seek the lost, that would still be our mission, given that we are his apprentices. But, additionally, Jesus did say that – in fact, at least five different ways – in these important “Great Commission” texts below:
Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
Mark 16:15 – “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’”
Luke 24:47-49 – “Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
John 20:21-22 – “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Note the underlined words above. In so many words, Jesus is saying, “My mission is now your mission. Go and do what you saw me do. Say what you heard me say.” And what is that, Jesus? Share the gospel and make disciples in the power of the Spirit.
Share the gospel. Tell others the good news of what God has done for them through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Proclaim to them that in Christ, they are forgiven, liberated, reconciled to God, and adopted into his family, blessed with the free gifts of eternal and abundant life.
And make disciples. Remember, the end goal of discipleship isn’t knowing information about God or even imitating Jesus; it’s replication. We are called to be disciples who make more disciples.
In the power of the Spirit. How do you and I get the courage, the wisdom, and the ability to proclaim Jesus in everyday life in a way that transforms lives? We need the Spirit of Christ to fill, and equip, and embolden us! We need him to go before us and behind us to convict others of sin and to give the gift of new life.
The vast majority of Christians are not called to full-time vocational ministry like being a pastor or missionary. And most people in the Early Church weren’t either. So how do you practice this gospel mission in everyday life? Four thoughts:
Pray for specific people, by name, to come to Christ. And pray for God to raise up and equip more people to share the Gospel and make disciples.
We’ve got to stop acting like people can know the hope of Christ apart from the gospel. Yes, we ought to be illustrating the gospel with good works that reflect truth and beauty, justice and mercy, kindness and hope. But without repenting and believing in the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, no one can be saved. So we must tell people. We must use words. Often.
Give your time and money to gospel missions and ministry. Support people and causes that are proclaiming the gospel. Find and invest in a local church – like Grace City! – that’s living on mission to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
You’re welcome to do anything that furthers Jesus’ mission; but be aware of things in your life – big and small – that contradict, distract from, and simply don’t contribute to that mission.
Take your career or work, for instance. It could be a mission to make money and buy a certain lifestyle, a mission to earn a good position and reputation, or a mission to retire early and live a life of leisure. Or, with some intentionality and focus, it could become a platform for gospel mission.
The point is not to ditch your friendships, hobbies, recreation, and leisure. The point is to leverage and streamline these things so they, too, become contexts for making disciples.
And the reward of it all? Not only are you honoring and glorifying God, you’re bringing joy – eternal and abundant joy – to new brothers and sisters in Christ.