The Apostolic Mission that is the Church… and overcoming fear…

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day”

 17  When they saw him, they worshiped him, even though some of them doubted. 18  Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20  and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-20 (TEV)

In grasping the outstretched hand of Christ, the Church of the twenty-first century, and of all time, finds the remedy for its fear. It also finds the criteria of authentic Catholic reform: the criterion of truth— for it is the truth of Christ that measures all in the boat that is the Church— and the criterion of mission— for it is by Christ overcoming our fear that the Church finds the courage to be the mission it is. (1)

Even after forty days of coping with the disturbing fact that Jesus died, and the more shocking fact that He had risen, the apostles struggle.  They know enough and desire to worship – but doubt and anxiety, even as it appears Jesus will be leaving them, begins to grow….they begin to waver… to be unsure of what’s next..

He commissions us, the entire church, to share this message.  But then there is the beautiful thing – He promises again, that we will not be alone, never alone, in this work which is our life.  Yeah, I said our lives, lived out in fellowship with God.  You see, mission is now about what we do as believers.  It’s not what we do to prove our salvation, or to become holy and sanctified.  It isn’t about working in the Kingdom, as if it is some other part of our lives. some chore we do as God’s children.  It cannot be – that kind of effort, programmed, built into us, can be used by God for sure….yes we grow in the skills, in the use of words, in understanding the people we serve and love, yet – you can’t plan to grow in love for someone, can you?

The answer to the wavering is in realizing the presence of God.  The “disciplines” we “endure”, the Worship Services, the  Bible Studies, the prayers, private confession and absolution, even things like fasting or almsgiving, is not about strengthening us like lifting spiritual weights, but they strengthen us – because we come into contact with Christ’s strong hand, we realize the presence of God, right here, right now in our lives.  The joy of that encounter is what causes us to be missional – to realize where we have been sent as God’s apostles.   It is His overcoming our fear, our doubts, our wavering, and the complete surprise that He is with us that those things we do have as their objective.  To create a dependence on God’s presence, that is what we do as believers instill in us.

Wavering about what happens next in life?  Where God would send you?  Who around you needs to know about Jesus’ love?   Look first to Jesus.  Find your hand already grasped by Him.  Relax and know His love… know He will not abandon you… and see who needs that same peace.

Go in His name, with Him.

 

Weigel, George (2013-02-05). Evangelical Catholicism (p. 92). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 29, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “It is His overcoming our fear, our doubts, our wavering, and the complete surprise that He is with us that those things we do have as their objective. To create a dependence on God’s presence, that is what we do as believers instill in us.” I tend to disagree with you here. The cry of desolation from the cross is a cry of forsakedness and emptiness – although Christians are to live in the resurrection they still carry the scars of the crucifixion. A dependance on God’s presence is exactly that…an addiction and plays into the hands of accusers like Marx who called Christianity a drug. Is it his presence that makes a missional church or his withdrawal? Surely we need to withdraw from drugs that keep us an exclusive club. Just some thoughts 🙂

    • Sorry Tapman,

      Our dependence on God is exactly why we trust in Him.Of course those who don’t know of God’s presence in our lives wouldn’t get that.
      Our mission calls us to draw people into that relationship, the very relationship we treasure, for it gives us life, and is our reason for living.

      I also think you need to read the entire cry from the cross… read all of Psalm 22 – that Jesus cites… It is a cry of victory and of dependence on the Father, and the joy of seeing His plan… victorious for us.

  1. Pingback: Why I don’t hate “religion”, because it is His One, holy, catholic/christian and apostolic church | A Justified Sinner....

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