The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 59:20
In our busy world it is so easy to lose our focus on the mission of making disciples. But before we consider that, let’s take a moment to look back at the time of Jesus. Can you imagine the wonder of those first disciples of Jesus? After more than 400 years of silence, no prophet speaking for God, no voice crying out in the wilderness or anywhere about the messiah, along comes John the Baptist. His message of repentance, is also one of grace. To prepare for the arrival of messiah he is calling Israel to turn from their sin and get things ready for the Lord. Perhaps you remember playing dodgeball as a kid. If you were like me, you probably weren’t the first one chosen by the captain, but you also were not the last one picked either. Whew! We all pity that guy. But these newly gathered disciples of Jesus were the first ones picked, not for a silly game, but for learning from the promised one of Israel Himself.
On Sunday I said that "Intimacy with Christ is central to disciple formation". Hopefully you have seen that principle modeled in the text of John 1:35-42. I tried to make the case that the model presented by Jesus and his disciples was one of intimate knowledge. John the Baptist made the astounding introduction; Jesus was the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”! How many years had the world been waiting for that magnificent moment. And here he was, the final seed promised in Genesis and throughout the old Testament. Sin was finally going to be eradicated, not merely “passed over”. Who would not want intimacy with this One? What Jewish man in particular would not understand the gravity of this and consider it an incalculable privilege?
And we get to follow in those footsteps. We too can be so overcome with excitement that we cannot keep ourselves from going and getting others and bringing them to Jesus. In fact, that is our mandate, the final edition of the original creation command to be fruitful and multiply, now has a spiritual application. We must go and make disciples of Jesus. We must be the ones to continue the thread of Christ-followers in history. We have the immense privilege of continuing what was begun by our Lord Himself because of our sin.
This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:46-48
And of course, we must make sure the message we relay is the same message that John the Baptist heralded. “Behold. The Lamb of God”. We of course do not have the benefit of living in the time when the eschatological expectation was focused on the need for a Messiah. Our message must be a bit more clear about why anyone would need a Lamb, much less one that takes away the sin of the world. We must not be guilty of proclaiming a “cheap grace”. We must call people to turn from their sin and follow Christ, intimately, no matter the cost. Can we do that? Can we call others to genuine discipleship? Can we be so motivated by our excitement of knowing the Lord that we bring as many as possible with us? This is my prayer for Light City and for the Church.
Peace to You,