After Easter—Now What? (Part 3)

James Hassell   -  

It’s now time in our Monday blog series to dive deeply into the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 and Jesus’ subsequent instructions in Acts 1:8. These texts shed intense light on our responsibilities as believers in view of the Easter event. Since Christ has been raised from the dead, we know that God is certainly at work. We will therefore respond!

In our most recent blog article, we talked about the proposition that responsibility is personal. That is, responsibility is neither our slavishly obeying the regulations of a detached God, nor is it an intangible, nebulous goal out there for us to accomplish someday. Responsibility is part of the Holy Spirit’s work inside of us in view of God’s consistent and redemptive work around us. Put simply, responsibility is acting upon the tug of the Spirit in us when the risen Christ is always up to something around us!

But how exactly can we respond to the risen Christ who is constantly at work in our daily lives? Fortunately for us, Jesus gave some specific, yet open-ended responsibilities in Matthew 28 and Acts 1. We use the term “open-ended” here because the Great Commission is not a ritualistic requirement. It’s not something to be turned into a legalistic strategy. Jesus purposefully leaves these responsibilities very much open to our creativity and unique giftedness. In other words, the Great Commission is not a one-size-fits-all plan for living a responsible life. We can use our ingenuity and unique personalities to enjoy the ride of responding to the Spirit’s call.

For instance, the first word in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is, “Go.” This term does not simply refer to our picking up and traveling to another location—although such is implied. The word for “go” in the New Testament Greek here is “poreuthentes,” which has a fluidity to it. The best we can translate it in English is something like, “In your going,” or “having gone from one place to another.”

Hence, the word “Go” in Matthew 28:19 is not only a command, but it is also a descriptive word for how we may take the gospel to our neighbors in everyday situations. That is, as we go through our daily routines—anything from going to work, to going to the store, to going on vacation—we are constantly capable of and responsible for nurturing others into a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord. Put simply, one doesn’t necessarily have to go on a mission trip across the world to make disciples. One can make disciples even in the most hum-drum activities of life at home. When Jesus says, “Go,” it is an all-encompassing term. It basically has to do with getting to as much of the world as we can—both near and far—in the rhythms of everyday life with the greatest gospel ever known.

Let’s talk more next week on the next phrase in the Great Commission: “Make disciples of all nations.”