“Where are you Jesus? I feel so distant from you!” Have you ever said words similar to these? I know I have.
As I prepared for this past week’s Sunday morning marriage class, I was startled with a truth pointed out in Francis and Lisa Chan’s book, “You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity”. Their point had nothing to do with marriage but everything to do with mission. As you probably know the last command Jesus gave while on earth was to “go and make disciples…” And the very last thing he said was “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19a and 20b) Amazingly, right before Jesus leaves, he promises to be with His disciples. This is wonderful news, especially to those disciples He was initially leaving. Think about it. They had just been given a mission, to “go make disciples of all nations”. What a daunting task! How thankful they must have been for his statement of continual presence. But Jesus’ reassurance that He was with them was given in the context of them obeying Him and carrying out the mission He had called them to. Think about that! Jesus came to save and he sent out his disciples to make more and better disciples. Jesus is in the business of saving people. And so Jesus was with them when they were making disciples. He was with them when they were baptizing new disciples into Him. He was with them when they were teaching those baptized into Christ.
We may not like it and many of us may not do it, but all Christians have been given the same mission as the first disciples: to make more. We’ve all been enlisted for the same thing. We are in a battle for people’s souls. Jesus wants to save them. And so I believe that Jesus’ power and presence are most experienced when we are on the front lines doing what He said to be doing. Unfortunately, I fear that 99% of the time dear Christian, you and I are on furlough getting some R&R. This has to change!
I had a good conversation with a visiting Christian woman on Sunday morning. She is trying to figure out the best ways to get Christians connected with non-Christians. She believes this is the most crucial element we must focus on in evangelism. While I too believe this is crucial, I think the bigger problem is this: using the connections we already have to introduce Jesus! I mean ask yourself, “When was the last time I told an unbeliever about Jesus?” My guess is that you’re glad your answer to this question is private. But is it really? Jesus knows.
Please know, I’m not trying to guilt trip you here. Not at all. I’m trying to remind you of a glorious blessing. Jesus is with us. He loves us and will never leave us or forsake us. So out of your love for Him and this amazing truth, join Him in this most sacred and imperative mission.
And the next time you find yourself asking, “where are you Jesus?” ask yourself, “How engaged am I in making disciples?” That very well could be your problem.
Idea for kick starting your disciple-making: This Saturday, join me in mentioning Jesus to every non-Christian you have an interaction with. It might be two or it might be 30. Maybe say: “Jesus saved my life, just thought you should know.” Maybe ask them: “Do you know why I follow Jesus?” Then tell them something like “Because He saved me and gave my life purpose”. Maybe they’ll want to know more. Invite them to hear the gospel with you at church this Easter. If you take me up on this challenge, you’ll be glad you did. And then please email me with what happened and I’ll email you back with what happened for me. Let’s get out there and plant some seeds!