The Call of Every Christian

The Call of Every Christian…

When we read Jesus’ great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of allnations…” or Acts 1:8, “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We might be tempted to think that this call is only for a small select group of special people, like the Apostles, Paul, Apollos and Timothy. Or some great missionaries and evangelists (like Hudson Taylor or Billy Graham). Yet, it is important to remember and realize thatthese commands are for every single person of Jesus’ people. Here are two things to remember…

• Jesus called every believer to witness to Him

Historians are often amazed by the rapid spread of Christianity in the 1st Century to the 4th Century. For example, when Constantine became emperor and signed the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D.,approximately 10% of the Roman Empire’s population claimed to be Christian. Even so, it is a mistake to believe that this growth was primarily due to full-time pastors and teachers. As important as the pastors and teachers were (like Irenaeus or Tertullian who kept the church grounded in Jesus and His mission), the ultimate reason Christianity spread was because of the witness of every Christian.Wherever Jesus’ people lived or worked, they used every opportunity to tell people about Jesus.

The main critics of Christianity picked up on this. For example, Celsus who lived during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (2nd Century), wrote this about the spread of Christianity in his anti-Christian work“The True Word”,
“In some private homes we find people who work with wool and rags, and cobblers, that is, the least cultured and most ignorant kind. Before the head of the household, they dare not utter a word. But as soon as they can take children aside or some women who are as ignorant as they are, they speakwonders… If you really wish to know the truth, leave your teachers and your father, and go with the women and the children to the women’s quarters, or to the cobbler’s shop, or to the tannery, and thereyou will learn the perfect life. It is thus that these Christians find those who will believe them…”

Notice what irked Celsus: it was that ordinary people claimed to know the truth. In Roman and Greek societies, only the wealthy could afford an education and become teachers/philosophers. Christianity turned this upside down. Those who talked about Jesus were cobblers, tanners, women and children.People who would not be considered “qualified” for teaching. Yet, that is the wonder of the Gospel. The people Jesus chose to witness and teach about Him were fisherman, tax collectors and zealots (cf. Matt. 4:18-22). The first people to witness about the risen Jesus were women (Lk 24:1ff). Everyone in the Early Church understood that they were called to tell their neighbours about Jesus and that is what they did.

Yet, why they felt they could do it was not because of their own ability, but because of Jesus’ promise…

• Jesus empowers every believer with the Holy Spirit to witness

Notice in Matthew 28:18-20 the reasons why the disciples were able to make disciples. It was not because of their education or background that enabled them. Firstly, the One who commissions themhas all authority, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. The One who sendsthem is the All-Powerful Messianic King who has supreme authority and rule over all things. Secondly,they will not be doing this alone. Jesus promises that He will be with them always, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The One who sends us is also the One who is eternally with us.

How Jesus will be with us is explained in John 14-16 and Acts 1. It is by the indwelling presence of Godthe Holy Spirit, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”. Every believer hasreceived the gift of the Holy Spirit. The reason we can go out and tell people about Jesus is because we are empowered by God the Holy Spirit to do so. As the prophet Zechariah told Zerubbabel when rebuilding the temple. We are able to do what we do, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit”(Zech. 4:6).

We live in a Valley of approximately 80 000-100 000 people. Realize that all of us are called to witness to this Valley about Jesus (like the cobblers and tanners in the Early Church). Also realize that the sameSpirit that empowered God’s people back then, still empowers us today. So go out and tell someone about Jesus…