“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/27/10): Demand #50 “Make Disciples Of All Nations, For The Mission Cannot Fail”

Matthew 8:11-12

“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Luke 21:12-13, 24

“But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be our opportunity to bear witness… They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

“When Jesus came as the light of the world, though his focus was on Israel, he began to make it clear that the kingdom he was bringing through suffering would bless the nations and that Israel herself would be, for a season, left to the side. For example, when a Gentile centurion believed in him and the Jewish leaders didn’t, Jesus said, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:11-12). The meaning is clear: The natural heirs of the kingdom (Israel) are not going to inherit its blessings because of unbelief, but the Gentile nations, that is, those who come from east and west, will enter the kingdom… More and more it became clear, for those who had ears to hear, that Jesus had come to save all the nations as well as Jews.

During this time—the times of the Gentiles—the sovereign promise of Jesus stands firm: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). There is no maybe here. The mission that he gives to his followers to go and make disciples of all nations will come to pass. “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice” (John 10:16). “Thus it is written [and cannot be broken!], that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46). The mission to make disciples of all nations will succeed.

Jesus’ final demand is that we never lose sight of the global scope of his claim on the human race. He is not a tribal deity. He is the Lord of the universe. Every knee will one day bow either willingly or unwillingly (Matt. 25:31-32). All judgment is given to him (John 5:22). The demand is that his followers reach the nations with “all that he has commanded.” “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). The mandate is that everything I have tried to set forth in this book (and it is not exhaustive) be taken to the nations. This is what it means to make disciples—not just that they make a profession of faith, but that they “observe all that I have commanded you.”

The certainty of success is guaranteed (Matt. 24:14). Jesus will see that it gets done. But it is in our hands to do it. We do it by prayer and by the word and by suffering for others. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). We must earnestly pray that God will do what he promised he would do. Promises do not make prayer superfluous; they make the answer certain. Then we must open our mouths and speak the truth of Jesus to all nations. “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matt. 10:27). “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). And don’t be ashamed, Jesus says, because “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33). Finally, in all our praying and speaking we must be ready to suffer. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Jesus was sent to suffer. We will not be able to make disciples of all nations without taking up our cross and following Jesus on the Calvary road of sacrificial love (Mark 8:34). This is the light of Jesus that the world can most clearly see.

Jesus does not call us to an easy life or an easy mission. “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12-13). There will be no wasted suffering. In the short run, it will always be an occasion to speak and show the reality of Jesus. In the long run, it will lead to eternal life. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). Therefore, in all your suffering for the advance of Jesus’ mission you are increasingly rewarded. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matt. 5:11-12). That reward is the enjoyment of the inexhaustibly glorious Jesus forever and ever (pg. 371-375).”

*** To conclude this book study, please feel free to check out the video for “Until The Whole World Hears” by Casting Crowns, which is attached to my Vodpod on this page.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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