The ‘go ye’ charge: Meditation for the 4th Sunday after trinity
God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, Jesus ChristÖ (Jn 3:16).
When God calls people, it is not only to bless them, but also to use them to reach out to, and bless others.
This outreach dimension and instrumentality element is a very essential part of Christianity.
Godís call normally takes the same form. It starts with a calling to be with Him, and then be sent out to others. For instance, with regard to calling the apostles, ìJesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him.†
He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them outÖ (Mark 3:13-15).
Ultimately, the Lordís charge to His disciples is: ìGo ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creatureî (Mark 16:15 KJV).
The call of God is not complete without ìGo yeî and so, our Christian life and ministry are not complete without the ìGoingî part.
The Readings For The Day (Mattins): Jonah 3 & 4; Acts 13:1-13
Jonahís Case ñ Mission Is Imperative
The OT passage is about how Jonah eventually obeyed Godís call to ìGo ye.î It also gives the reason he initially refused to obey the call and why even his obedience was not with all his heart.
The book of Jonah is one of the books of the Minor Prophets, but different from the others in that, instead of prophecies by the prophet, it records the life of the prophet.
Also, while most of the other prophets prophesied to Israel and Judah, Jonahís task was to go to Nineveh and prophesy to them.
Jonah did not want to carry out this assignment and started running away, but ended up in the very land he was running away from via a fish belly.
It was at this point that the voice of God came again to Jonah in the passage repeating the ìGo yeî charge, which Jonah now decided to obey.
But it appeared that Jonah just obeyed to fulfil all righteousness, hoping that the people would not repent so that God would destroy them.
Assyria was not just a Gentile nation, but also an active enemy of Israel and deserved Godís judgment.
But the people of Nineveh repented and Jonah became furious. He confessed that what happened was exactly why he did not initially want to obey the ìGo yeî commission.
He even prayed to die than to live and see the people forgiven. When God did not take his life, he continued to hope that something would turn up and the people eventually destroyed. So, he went and sat somewhere ìand waited to see what would happen to the city.î (v. 5).
Jonah forgot that Israel had been forgiven many times for her sins and that he himself had just been forgiven for his disobedience.
God explained His compassion on Nineveh by making an analogy with Jonahís concern for the plant, which God had caused to spring up and give shade to him in the hot weather.
If Jonah was concerned about a mere plant that grew up on its own without the care of a gardener, how much more compassion might God extend to the people of Nineveh whom he had loved and laboured to bring to repentance?
No reason to avoid mission is acceptable or justified. It is imperative.
Mission Is Of God
The NT passage is the beginning of Christian mission. It is a record of how the missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas started. The mission work of the church is not initiated by the church, but by God Himself.
They did not resolve at a meeting to start mission work.
Rather, ëwhile they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ìSet apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called themîí(vs 2). It is actually the mission of God (Missio Dei).
Ours is to obey the Holy Spirit and surrender ourselves to be used by Him. When the Holy Spirit spoke, the church did not hesitate to obey Him.
Paul and Barnabas wholly yielded themselves to the use of the Holy Spirit and so had a fruitful ministry.
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
No comments yet