Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
Today’s news reports often remind us of various political responsibilities we have toward other nations as citizens of the world’s richest and most influential country. It’s a challenge to filter through that myriad of earthly pleas for money and action.
This limited space isn’t enough to unpack the above passage, so let’s focus on verses 18-20 in conjunction with the following statement by the Apostle Paul: …we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 2 Cor 5:20.
When Jesus calls us to walk in his way with his heart, he clarifies his position of authority as we represent his heavenly interests on earth… “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The authority he imparts to us is amazing as it is not just earthly, but heavenly. “ …we are ambassadors for Christ…” “…therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” We are called to be his ambassadors anywhere his Holy Spirit directs us. His purpose is to establish an outpost of his presence in order to issue invitations to join his everlasting and benevolent kingdom …as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!
To give us confidence to carry out this mission, Jesus adds: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
As U.S. citizens we have recently been reminded that a U.S. ambassador and entourage can be swiftly displaced under hostile conditions. Paul, a seasoned ambassador of Christ, said this in Eph 6:20 …I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak. Paul’s statement illustrates that our earthly conditions of ambassadorship can more closely resemble the sufferings of Jesus than the luxuries of a well-situated embassy.
So how can we be part of Jesus’ call to worldwide ambassadorship?
Being Christ’s ambassador to other nations sometimes means moving to another country as a formal missionary. However, as members of Christ’s body, all of us are called to support his call to all nations in a variety of ways. For example, we can give prayer support to South Fellowship’s Ministry Partners in one of our five Missions Advocacy Teams. Some of us can also reach out directly to refugees from other countries who have recently arrived in our city. For opportunities to be involved in this effort, contact South Fellowship’s Hannah Levers at [email protected].
By Kathleen Petersen