Saturday, 19 March 2016

Christ Is The Great Commission

Christians today have misinterpreted certain communications of the New Testament and the early Christians. Over the years these certain communications found in early Christianity have lost there true meaning and there is a need for the rediscovery of there true meaning. The rediscovery of the meaning of these communications is very very important because it would bring back life into Christianity. What is today called the great commission has lost it meaning from what the early Christian perceived it to be. Christianity have grown to be very carnal and we look at the divine things through our carnal eyes. Another thing that have hinder us from understanding certain things in the new testament is that we are not born under that culture and as a result we can't understand the symbolic interact. Also, in talking about the great commission, we must understand that when God gives us an assignment the means to do that assignment must be holy - it must be completely Christ, for Christ is holiness. The goal is Christ and the means is Christ, Christ must be all in all, for this is true holiness. We have look at things in terms of concepts, terminologies, phraseology and theologies but these Christian things are Christ himself. The  ery meaning, purpose and essence of the great commission is Christ. Let take another look to what we call the great commission considering the cultural factors and the spiritual significant.
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (Matt 28:18-19).
"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the GOSPEL to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be SAVED; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mar 16:15-16).
"but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luk 24:49).
"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”... But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:6,8).
We are looking very closely at these verses because they described what we call the great commission. Now in the book of Matthew, before he went ahead to tell his disciples to go make disciples and baptize them Jesus first of all said "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Why did he first tell them that he has all authority? Authority is a legally vested power, it is the legal right of someone who had been given a position in government.  For Jesus to have said he now has all the authority in heaven and earth this means he had been given a position higher than the heaven and earth, he has become ruler of all. Jesus was simply saying he had been enthroned as the king over all both in heaven and on earth.
During those days once a person had been victorious and had attain the throne his followers who witness this would carry the good news to the rest of the people who are waiting to hear it. This is why Jesus went further to say "make disciples of all nations,...". When a new ruler emerge it is normal for people to try to oppose and resist his reign. We could see that in story of Saul enthronement as king of Israel. Saul was opposed and had only few followers when he was publicly announced as the chosen king. It was after he defeated their enemy - the Ammonites - that most Israelites supported him. And those who supported him said “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” (1Sam 11:12). The word disciple means a student. Those who support the reign of Christ must also be taught in the ways of his kingdom. Every kingdom have there own system and every king have his own way of ruling his subject. Now when Jesus said "make disciples of all nations,...", he was simply saying "go into every nation and gather all those who would support my reign, teach them the ways of my kingdom".
Let us now paraphrase Jesus' words in Matthew 28:18-19 for better understanding. Jesus way trying to say, "I have been enthrone as the new king over heaven and earth, therefore go into all nations and gather those who would support my reign, teach them the ways of my kingdom". The kingdom of God has arrive on earth through Christ enthronement as Lord over all and the disciples were given the commission to go announce this good news and educate all those who are being brought into the kingdom.
In the book of Mark, Jesus said  “Go into all the world and preach the GOSPEL...". The word "gospel" is another word that has lost it meaning in today's Christianity. The word gospel is gotten from a Greek word "evangelion" and it wasn't a religious word but a military word. Yes it means good news but It's not just any good news, its the news of the victory and enthronement of a king. It's was later, after much linguistic evolution that the Greek word evangelion was now use to refer to any good new. But at first it was mainly a military term. Therefore when Jesus said "go... and preach the gospel", he was saying "go and declare my victory, announce to everyone that the ruler of the world (the devil) had been defeated and now I have been enthroned as the new ruler of all creation".
There is still yet another word in this verse that we would like to trace the original meaning and that word is "save" or "salvation". The actual word use here can also be translated as deliverance, in the ancient time it simply means being brought out of a land of slavery and affliction into a land of freedom or being set free from a tyrant ruler or lord. An example is found in the Bible when the Israelites were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians. They were saved, brought out of the land of slavery into the land of salvation. So when Jesus said "He who believes and is baptized will be SAVED", he was saying "anyone who believes and is baptized would be brought out of the land of slavery (the kingdom of darkness) into the land of freedom".
Paul perfectly explain the meaning of salvation when he said "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," (Col 1:13). By "baptism" Jesus was referring to a formal declaration of our allegiance to the new ruler, which is Christ. Jesus said "He who believes and is baptized will be SAVED", this means that believing is not enough, there must also be a formal display to show that one has align with the new King. Now let paraphrase the verse in Mark, Jesus was saying, "go and announce to the world that a new King have been enthrone and those who believe and pledge their allegiance to me would be rescue from the power of the tyrant king but those who refuse to summit to my reign would be crush together with the rest of the rebels"
Let look at the verse in the book of Luke where Jesus told his disciples "tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” The disciples were to go and preach the gospel but Jesus said they should wait until they are endued with power. This brings us to the question, why do they have to wait, instead of them to rush to the rescue of the many lost souls who are perishing? This is because it is not about saving lost souls but about declaring the greatest of the newly enthrone King. The emergence of a new king can only be a good news when that new king is better than the former tyrant king. If a more terrible king should be enthroned then it is not a good news. The testimony or the evidence that proof that the new king is better than the former is the taste of the sweetness and the greatness of his reign. People need proof that this new King is a better king.  This is why the power of God need to be displayed, this is why they (the disciples) must wait for the Spirit to endue them with the power. The display of this power would be a testimony or a taste of the greatness of the reign of Christ. Therefore the disciples would testify of the greatness of the reign of Christ not just through words but through power.
Now let put this together; the great commission is not about establishing a religion, it is not about winning souls and increase the number of born again Christians. Instead the great commission is about announcing the enthronement of Jesus, declaring the greatness of his reign and gathering together all those who pledge their allegiance to him, teaching them the ways of the kingdom. In Acts Jesus said "you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Notice it said "you shall be witnesses to Me", it didn't say they shall be preachers of th gospel, or missionary, or disciplier, or evangelist or apostles etc. They were simply to be witnesses of the victory, enthronement and reign of Christ. Their lives would now be a testimony of the glorified Christ. The great commission is that we should be a witness and a testimony of Christ - yes, the great commission is Christ.

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