As the fourth post in the series called Five Myths Keeping Us Legendary, the idea of The Great Commission will be our focus. If you haven’t read the first of these posts, Five Myths Keeping Us Legendary may be a good place to start to help give you the context of this series.
“Can I get a witness?” I have heard that in jest and I have heard that in reality. People have looked to others requesting their witness of an experience. This request has become a personal venture. But in reality and in truth, the witness has been made manifest.
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:6-9 NASB)
The man called John the Baptist was sent from God as a witness to tell folks about Christ. John the Voice, if you will. He prepped people to the reality of the Fulfillment of the Law Who was on His way.
This is one of the first signs that a Legend is being formed in the minds of people. You see, people heard this witness. They hear the testimony of Christ. Yet, they did not see Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10 NASB) But because of the witness, the world was forever changed.
John the Baptist was so ready to testify, he was kicking in his mother’s (Elizabeth) womb when Mary came close to Elizabeth. There we see he began his life as a sent-from-God witness.
And when Jesus’ ministry was established, John the Baptist was there to testify to who Christ is.
The Legend of Witnessing is the first waters we cross. The Four Spiritual Laws, the Roman Road to Salvation, tell all your friends about Christ. These are some things that well up when the word witness comes up.
Witness is a noun. Witnessing is a verb. Testimony is a noun. Testifying is a verb. This is where things get testy with some of us. We see the noun and verb, and grab the verb. I can grab the verb and do the verb action. We choose to witness.
What if, we chose no verb?
What if, we chose no action, but to be?
Based off the last myth, the Repentance Myth, we would then connect with the Divine Nature inside of us and access Divine Rationale and live and move based off of the leading of the Holy Spirit according to God’s will.
We would no longer be doing.
We would be being.
Going further past the oceans of Legend, we look past witness and to commission. Some have called it great. But could it be a myth? Could what we know as the Great Commission be the Mythical Commission?
The seas that takes us to the Mythical Commission are very expectant. Through the centuries after Christ, we have put in our scriptures into different sections, each of which are called a “pericope.” In Matthew we have focused on this pericope called, “The Great Commission.”
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, the worshipped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 NASB)
This is how Matthew ends his writing. This is how many Christians begin their journey of doing. And unintentionally escape being. We have been told that this passage is a command for all Christians and disciples of Christ. And once new believers hear the command to “Go,” the pressures of doing affix themselves to the soul of these new believers. Discouragement sets in. Guilt. Shame.
For by our own power, we are incapable of fulfilling this so called commandment, which is actually just a pericope.
The Journey to the Source
Luke has a record, in the Gospel of Luke, of Christ as He leaves the earth and ascends. Then in The Acts of the Apostles, Luke writes about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the Church.
But before these two out-of-this-world events, Luke writes down something that give us insight into the Myth and Legend of today’s post.
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24: 44-49 NASB)
Jesus Christ Himself revealed to these disciples the Scriptures in a way they understood them. Not from a human perspective, but from a Life-giving, Divine perspective. Then He stated that these disciples were witnesses … nouns. Then there was a promise being sent, but they were to stay still until that happened. So, what was the promise?
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-8 NASB)
The Legend of Witnessing, a verb, has been enough for some people they have committed their lives to doing this task for an eternal reward. The Myth of the Great Commission, a pericope, is a tactic that can be used as a tool of oppression that can lead to guilt and shame when we are unable to meet certain standards made by man.
However, the very words of Christ are our source. The promise of God is that we will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And at that moment, we will receive His power! As a result of His power we are then witnesses … nouns. And not just any witnesses, but His witnesses.
We are not a witness to a gospel that man has created. We are not a witness to the programs of the institutions we have given our lives to. We are not a witness to the beautiful structures we have built with our hands.
We are Holy Spirit baptized, God sent, Christ testimonies to the world. He has brought us to a certain space on and in His creation for the sole purpose of His Eternal Purpose. He wills to have a witness in the remotest part of the earth. But you don’t have to go. You don’t have to do. Your only response to a Divine Revelation of Christ is to just be.
He will send you out to fulfill His will.
So relax. Breath in Christ. Allow Him to fill you up with His Life. Be with people that desire the same. Rest and abide in Him together. Enjoy the assembly of those who are hungry for Christ alone.
He will prepare and equip you to be you in Him. As you are lead into opportunities to bring a testimony of Christ …
Be a noun … a witness to the greatest story ever told.