My devotional entry tonight is from a good friend I have never actually met in person but we know many of the same people. Warren is many things, including a preacher of the Gospel and a prolific writer. I know you will enjoy his thoughts! Continued prayers for me in Vietnam, please!
“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.” Matthew 28:18-20
Eleven shoe salesman are standing before their manager. “Go into all the world,” he says, “and sell our shoes to everyone. I want our name brand to be on the foot of every little boy and girl, every teenager, and every man and woman, everywhere. I want shoes on those who already wear shoes, but of another brand. I want shoes on the feet of people who live in regions where as yet there are no shoes. I want our company name to be a household word all over the world. What are you waiting for? The clock is ticking, go sell.” Then he walks out the door. (What a powerful image. I forgot where I got this illustration, but thanks to whoever it is).
I imagine eleven shoe salesmen would look at each other and say, “Is he serious? Go into all the world? Introduce our shoes to everyone, including those who already have shoes and those who live in impoverished areas where shoes don’t exist?”
“How can he expect us to do that? We’ll have to make enormous sacrifices. We’ll have to leave our families. We’ll have to make this a top priority. We’ll have to dedicate ourselves to the task at hand. Go into all the world.”
The eleven guys might say that. They might even just laugh and say, “He’s crazy. It’s not happening.”
But the eleven guys standing before Jesus weren’t laughing. “Go into all the world,” Jesus said, “And make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
These eleven guys, the apostles, were not laughing. They knew Jesus wasn’t joking, and they knew he wasn’t crazy. Think of what they have just witnessed. They saw Jesus nailed to the cross, they saw his broken body, they saw the tomb. Then, they saw him walking around. “Don’t be afraid,” he told them.
And now he is in his final moments with them. “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus was sending them out on what might seem like an insanely impossible mission, to take the story of a man who was killed for their redemption to every creature under heaven. But he wasn’t sending them out on their own resources or energy.
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus would be with them, with those they taught, baptized and discipled in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
So those eleven men didn’t laugh. They didn’t dismiss Jesus as crazy. They didn’t scoff. No, they preached. They took Jesus very seriously, and they preached the Good News of salvation and sanctification in Jesus’ name. They went north, south, east and west. They traveled by ship and traveled by foot. They preached in homes, synagogues and pagan meetings. And soon, by the relentless efforts of these men and all others who believed, the Gospel made it around the world.
Today, those of us baptized in the name of Jesus bear witness to the effectiveness and power of that moment many years ago when Jesus looked eleven men in the eye and said, “Go preach.” Our spiritual destinies hang on the obedience of those eleven men. Have we considered how the eternal destiny of millions of other people hang on what we do with this passage known as the Great Commission? Go preach, with God’s power for today.
-Warren Baldwin God bless, Steve Luke 18:1 www.hawleybooks.com E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org