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Jesus is alive! He has risen from the dead and now holds the keys to Death and Hades! He is the undisputed King of kings and Lord of lords!
If you were one of Christ’s disciples, wouldn’t you think it would be time for Jesus to take a victory lap? Maybe He could show up at the next meeting of the Sanhedrin, or in Pontius Pilate’s courtroom, or King Herod Antipas’ throne room. You can almost hear their longing for this when they asked Jesus, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
Jesus answered that question by saying, “Your race is just now beginning!” You see, Christ’s resurrection wasn’t the end of the race, but an important—absolutely indispensable—part of our ongoing race. “I will be raised back to life again” was a bold claim, but it wasn’t the final bold claim. There is one more for us to consider.
The resurrection of Jesus is our assurance that what Jesus says He will do, He will do. One of the things He promised is, “I am going to prepare a place for you and I will come back to get you” (John 14:1-3). The place Jesus has prepared for us is the end of our race—the finish line for which every Christian should be longing.
The disciples asked Jesus how they could know when His return was getting closer. He gave them a lot of things to watch for, but He concluded by saying, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
In order for us to go Home, the whole world—people in all nations—have to hear the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
This is our ongoing race.
This is also a task that Jesus doesn’t expect us to run in our own strength. He promised to send us the Holy Spirit to equip us and empower us to obey this mandate of worldwide evangelism.
In one of the boldest claims of all, Jesus says He has ultimate authority, and that He is commissioning us to use His authority for the express purpose of our missionary work to all nations. Notice the “therefore” which indicates what we are to do with His authority—
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. … But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)
The apostle Paul appreciated this analogy of running a race. Just before it was time for Paul to go Home, he told his friend Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Earlier in his life, Paul used a running example when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth—
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Paul gives us three don’ts and three dos in this passage:
- Don’t fail to train, don’t run aimlessly, don’t get disqualified by focusing on the temporal
- Do go into strict training, do stay focused on the eternal, do run for the prize of hearing Jesus say, “Well done!”
Do you want to go Home? Do you want Jesus to come again to take all of His children Home? Then finish the race of telling everyone in the whole world the Good News about Jesus.
If you’ve missed any of the bold claims we have unpacked during this series, you can find a list of all of the messages by clicking here.
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April 24, 2023 at 6:01 am
[…] Last week we learned that we have a job to do. If we want to see Jesus come back to take us Home, we need to share the Good News with everyone. Jesus said that we didn’t have to obey Him in this Great Commission by ourselves, but we can go in His authority and with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). […]