Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and 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, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. Lo I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt 28:18-20)" Amazingly Jesus does not say, "build structures and institutions that are worthy to bear my name." He does not say, "Go and convert the nations to a new religious order formed around my life." HE does not say, "Go and teach the nations to give time and money in order to secure eternal salvation." NO He simply commanded his disciples to make disciples who can make disciples. And did they obey him? With a little hesitation... but ultimately yes! How did they start? To whom were the disciples initially sent?
This is a phenomenon like the world has never experienced before or since. That one man with 12 disciples who only spent 3 years together could continue to impact the world 2000 years later is nothing short of miraculous. We could talk about the power of the "church" at various times in history. We could compare other world religions and how they began. Look here at the uniqueness of Jesus work and ministry.
Jesus Ministry Overview:
1. Jesus ministry activities were witnessed and observed only over a period of three years. Less than 1000 days of public ministry to change the world.
2. Jesus ministry was based in a very narrow geographical area. He traveled within a 70 mile radius for his entire ministry.
3. At his death he had a relatively small unorganized group of followers. They numbered somewhere between 120-500. This alone is surpassed by many other founders of world religions and even modern day cults.
4. His followers were made up of particularly normal people. Fisherman, tax collectors, sinners forgiven much. No soldiers, royal family, political advisors, Super-PACs. Just normal, mostly uneducated, working class Jews.
How does this rank as a resume for world changing movement? It is all together unimpressive. What is impressive is the impact that this unlikely movement had. Let's look at a few quick verses to see how Jesus empowered this group and trusted them to complete the mission.
Mark chapter 1 is one of my favorite places to see this "Oikos Strategy". We find Jesus calling his disciples with radical challenge and in rapid succession. We see Jesus walking by the shore of the Sea of Galilee and he see two brothers Andrew and Simon and he calls the to "come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Later he sees James and his brother John mending nets with their father Zebedee, and he calls them. Both sets of brothers immediately leave and follow Jesus. According to Mark they go to the local Synagogue in Capernaum, the town where the men are from.
Just to make sure I am not getting ahead here, how do we know that this is where the brothers are from? Well, one reason is that after they leave the Synagogue, they go to the home of Simon where his Mother in Law is sick. So let's get this very clear; Jesus calls them from their boats, they leave the shore and immediately walk into the town where they are from. They go to the synagogue then to Simon's home. Jesus heals Simon's Mother in Law and then the whole town turns out to meet Jesus. This is training ground #1. Simon, (according to Mark) becomes Jesus' first person of peace.
Does he meet the qualifications? Does Simon welcome the messenger, who in this case is Jesus? Yes! Does he welcome the message? Yes!!! "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men!" Simon literally leaves his nets and begins to introduce his community and family to Jesus. Does Simon accept the mission of Jesus? Of course he does!!!
So my challenge for you today: Are you a Person of Peace? Is your belief in Jesus such that you want all of your family and friends to meet him? Have you welcomed the Messenger? Have you welcomed the message? Have you welcome/partnered with his mission? My thought is that if we are honest we may not be good Persons of Peace.
You see many people welcome the messenger. They love to hear about Jesus' saving grace. They also welcome the message. But I find few disciples today that want to follow Jesus in His mission. We like to be safe Christians. As long as we can confidently say, "I am going to heaven" we feel that our part is sufficient. That is not the model we see in Scriptures. We see these guys so committed and faithful that they die for it.
In my next blog we continue to unpack Oikos. How do we go to our community and introduce them to Jesus?