#208 Into all the world

I’ve spent the past week at a missions’ conference held by CMS NSW. CMS stands for Church Missionary Society and the Australian Branches were started as a flow on effect from the Church Missionary Society in England.

Church Missionary Society. As with all organisations these days, a missionary organisation has a statement of purpose, values, logos, slogan and so forth. You might think that a missionary society having those ‘materialistic’ or ‘corporate’ elements seems discordant. Well, maybe and maybe not.

It really depends on what they have as their purpose, values… and the like.

CMS NSW has a vision: A world that knows Jesus.

As far as visions go, that’s a fairly all encompassing and global one.

And there’s nothing materialistic or corporate about it. Rather it reflects Jesus’ final directive to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. This directive is frequently referred to as ‘The Great Commission’.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There is much that can be said, and has already been said about these few verses.

One key thing to understand is that Christians believe that whilst these words were initially for Jesus’ 11 disciples (Judas had committed suicide by this time), they are also for believers today. This is mainly because of Jesus’ promise to be with them until the end of ‘the age’. Translation: until the end of the world.

If the message was only to the original disciples, that phrase wouldn’t make sense.

In the final session of the CMS gathering this week, we collectively commissioned those going to serve. We only do this though because Jesus initially commissioned all his followers to do so. There was a greater and ongoing commission before ours.

There’s another interesting point to observe though, even before Jesus gets to the directive: some doubted.

There is a tendency to think of missionaries as being the super-spiritual ones in the faith. For surely, they are the only ones Jesus would send out, right?

But some doubted.

What a great and encouraging phrase to add in there just before the instruction is given.

No one who goes to share the gospel, goes with it all together. It doesn’t matter whether they’re going across the road or across the world. They can still have doubts.

This also means that we as Christians who have not gone overseas to tell people about Jesus, shouldn’t get the wrong impression. We shouldn’t think of ourselves as less. Neither should be think of the missionaries as being super strong (in reality, missionaries on return are frequently the most ‘messed up’). We should think about sharing the news of Jesus with the right perspective.

All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus.

Tell people about that.

He will be with us.

It’s got nothing to do with us.

Yours with permission to doubt,

Alison

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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