Friday, December 28, 2018

The Great Commission

And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:47–48).

Luke tells us that the two people with whom Jesus spoke on the road to Emmaus rushed back to Jerusalem and found the rest of the disciples assembled together. As they were telling them about their experience, suddenly Jesus was standing in the midst of them all.

The disciples thought He was a ghost. They had not yet absorbed the implication of the empty tomb, the fact of the physical resurrection. So Jesus gave them proofs. First, He told them to touch Him. Second, He ate the fish they gave Him, again showing that His resurrection body was indeed a physical body.

Jesus’ resurrection body was a glorified body, unlike that of Lazarus, who was only resuscitated from the grave and later died again. There are changes that take place at the resurrection that transform the physical body into a deathless and glorified condition, with new abilities that we can not yet comprehend. But the resurrection body is still a physical body. Unlike the counterfeit religions of this world, Christianity affirms the goodness of the physical world and teaches that a new physical cosmos (a new heaven and earth) will be ushered in.

The resurrection body affirms that God’s plan of salvation extends to the physical world. The Good News of the Gospel is not merely the salvation of our souls but includes the redemption and responsibility for this world. Thus, the resurrected Jesus did not tell His disciples to live a hidden life, waiting for heaven, but He commissioned them to be His witnesses in all the world. He told them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness unto all nations and peoples. He told them that they would be given the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to make disciples of every nation under heaven. That would be their task, and is ours, until He returns.

Christianity is the only world-affirming religion because it alone teaches that a good God created the world and has redeemed it. All other religions renounce the world through false asceticism or seek to escape from it. What are some of the ways Christ impels us back into a fallen world? Consider what you have been sent to do.