A lot seems to be made of mission. Complicated methods of how we should go about the Missio Dei are multiform, seeking to be true to the ‘Great Commission’ Jesus entrusted to the church. But at its heart, being in God’s mission doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as Paul’s exhortation: […]
A lot seems to be made of mission. Complicated methods of how we should go about the Missio Dei are multiform, seeking to be true to the ‘Great Commission’ Jesus entrusted to the church.
But at its heart, being in God’s mission doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as Paul’s exhortation: ‘We believe, therefore we speak’ (2 Corinthians 4:13). When we look closely at Scripture, people meet Jesus, and they are empowered to speak about him.
In John 1:45, after meeting Jesus, ‘Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”.’ Nathanael too, upon meeting Jesus briefly declares, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel’ (v49). Both Philip and Nathanael are brought to a confession of faith with their mouths, a testimony and witness of who Jesus is.
Read John 4. The Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well also speaks, and as a result, ‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did”.’
Indeed, a confession of faith does not go without an action to follow it.
In Luke 5:11, the disciples dropped their nets in order to follow Christ. ‘So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.’ Note well Peter’s confession at 5:8, ‘When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”!’
This is the same Simon Peter, who would preach at the first Pentecost, and ‘those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day’ (Acts 2:41).
Notice how faith and baptism are inseparable. See the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26ff.
Recall the start of John 4 – it begins with baptism.
Meeting Jesus Christ brings forth a confession of faith that he is Lord, and we are unworthy sinners, ready to repent and give up everything, in order to pursue him and his gifts. This is the kingdom of heaven! (Matthew 13:44ff)
No one enters this Kingdom unless born of water and Spirit (John 3:5). This is the Baptismal life! ‘Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.’ (Romans 6:4).
Notice how Baptism is central to the Great Commission; ‘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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:19–20).
Notice Peter, now as an Apostle, when he writes, ‘And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 3:21).
As we are baptised in his name, we carry his name with us, certain in faith that no other name grants salvation (Acts 4:12), no other name has the authority to forgive (Matthew 9:6). He becomes the precious cornerstone of life itself (1 Peter 2:6-8), we are his pupils, his disciples.
Through words (confessing his name) and actions (sharing his love), we are his ambassadors of reconciliation in all facets of our lives (for those troubled consciences), keepers of the mystery (for those downcast and lacking in hope), light in the world (for those in darkness) and salt of the earth (for those who need to taste and see that the Lord is good). And it is in this name we come full circle and baptise all peoples.
And it is this name, the name into whom we are baptised, the baptism that now saves! See 1 Peter 3:21.
And he promises to be with us, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Walking in this newness of life, in forgiveness, hearing his word, and receiving his sacraments, we receive the grace of Jesus Christ and respond to it; we pass it on, we speak it, we act it, in our everyday lives.