Monday, July 26, 2010

Mark 16:19-20 NLT
 19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

I'm beginning at the end of Mark's Gospel because I want to trace us back from effect to cause, to the beginning of Christ's coming to earth. Looking at the life in-Christ in reverse may help us keep in focus the real purpose of the Messiah-- so that "we might have life. . . more abundantly. . ."(John 10:10KJV) or "a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10 NLT).

Mark was among the earliest Gospel writers and his work laid a foundation for many of the others. He was so enthusiastic to write of the mission of Christ that he seems to have compressed the Lord's 33 years into a television hour. There are, of course, large gaps in the events that other gospel writers fill in with more detail. Mark was pushing to get to the point of this passage-- that Jesus is Lord, is God, is The Creator, is The Redeemer, is The Ruler of all that is or ever will be. He describes what the first disciples witnessed-- the Lord teaching his first followers even as He was ending his walk as a physical being in their midst. He had told them of this moment throughout the past three years and Mark wanted to get to this moment in his account. The Lord was taken up into heaven as they watched. Other writers tell of the angels who gave yet more explanation of what they had just seen, but not Mark. He moves to the key moment of his Gospel account. "And the disciples went everywhere and preached. . ." Mark wanted to show that the Lord's command, 'go to all the world and teach the gospel, making disciples, teaching them to obey. . .' was taken to heart by the first members of His Church.

If only all the members of 'His Church' today would do as the first members did-- go 'everywhere' and present the Gospel. Or, if only they would present the Gospel 'everywhere' they went! You see, it was not their preaching that made the church grow. It was that they went. The rest of the verse explains that "The Lord worked through them, confirming what they said. . . "  You and I can expect this same fulfilment if only we would be willing to teach the Gospel 'everywhere' we went.  Notice I did not say we should go and get people to become members of our own particular local congregation. Our goal should be to ask the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us so that others are drawn to HIM. If they might fit in our local congregation and traditions, good but it might also be best to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them into the congregation of His choosing where they can best be ministered to. We need to be teaching about Christ, not about our denomination.

We need to be "Rudy" to the body of Christ. The famous football player for Notre Dame, Dan Ruettiger, who never got to play a single game until the last play of his senior year season, never missed a practice. He never missed a game. He was the most enthusiastic builder on the team, keeping everyone at his peak. He was smaller and slower than the rest of the players, however none had more heart. He was always there on his toes at the sideline ready for the coach to send him into the game. The coaches knew it, the players knew it, and that made the other players play that much harder. We need to be Rudys in God's team. We need to be always prepared to present the Gospel, teach the Gospel, share the Gospel, and to be the Gospel, whether we get a chance or not. We'll look more into this "Rudy Principle" as we go backward in the Book of Mark across coming days. For now, are you 'in the game of making disciples wherever you go? Would you like to be? How about asking the Holy Spirit to help you do this today. I'll pray with you.

Your servant in Christ's Love
Dan Elliott

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