Summary: We have to have the Spirit living within us if we want him to fill us.
We are living today in a global society, advances in communications over the last few years through fibre optical and satellite technology, the internet and so on means we can now talk to people thousands of miles away face to face in the comfort of our own homes or offices. We can leave our homes to go on holiday and be on the beach of a foreign country in less time it takes to drive from here to Edinburgh, in some cases less time than the journey from here to Doncaster. The days when villages and towns were formed around a parish church and where the majority of the residents of those places rarely ventured outside of the perimeters of the town or village are long gone. If they did need to visit other towns or even travel to the city, it would mean a lengthy horse ride or an even longer ride on Shank’s pony. If they were fortunate enough to have enough money to go by carriage, they would have at least have had a journey relatively sheltered from the elements but would still have the prospect of a long journey.
The world is definitely shrinking! We are now living in what many call –a global village and yet although we have the technology to speak to our friends and family in far off places we still fall far short of the great commission that Jesus gave us when he said…
“…go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20. NIVUK)
There are still people living in darkness in our very own neighbourhood, just outside of these four walls; who have no idea how much they need the Light of Christ in their lives, let alone the countless millions around the world. But to think global we first need to think local.
“If we want to reach the world with the Gospel we must begin in our own backyard.”
Imagine then, how the eleven remaining disciples were feeling over two thousand years ago on that mountain top in Galilee, when they first heard the words of the Great Commission. They had spent three years of their lives roaming around the countryside, towns and villages of Palestine as their teacher; a carpenter from Nazareth proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom of God. They had witnessed amazing miracles of healing, seen people brought back from the dead. They had heard him preach amazing sermons that fed people’s spiritual needs and witnessed as he fed thousand’s physical needs with just five loaves and two small fish.
And they had also seen how those same people who he had helped turned on him and handed him over to the Romans to be brutally tortured and then nailed to a cross to die in agony alongside two criminals on a hill overlooking the largest rubbish dump in Palestine.
Then they received news that Jesus had been raised from the dead, that the tomb was empty. Two of them had even seen the empty tomb and then they had met the risen Jesus, touched his wounds and even shared meals with him. Jesus was clearly a man with great power, he was clearly sent by God and of God. Peter had, himself already proclaimed that he was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and Thomas also pronounced him “My Lord, my God” when he had seen the resurrected Jesus for the first time.
And yet, though Jesus was clearly the Son of God, in all the time they had been with him pre-crucifixion and post-crucifixion, they had never taken the Good News outside of the confines of Palestine and yet here they were; forty days after the resurrection and Jesus was telling them to ““…go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I can imagine their thoughts at this point…
“So now he’s taking us into other countries, well at least he’ll be with us leading the way and doing all the talking.” But then what happened?
He vanished into the clouds right before their eyes. Can you imagine the look on their faces as that happened? Can you imagine what they were thinking?
“What do we do now? How can we make disciples of all nations without him being with us? He was God, we’re just men.”