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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
(Part 102)

COMMISSIONED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL – 6


April 27, 2019

Today’s readings:
Acts 4:13-21
Psalm 118:1, 14-21
Mark 16:9-15

Jesus himself commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15). This commission is operative even now. Especially now, given the deep darkness in the world.

But people do not readily accept the good news of Jesus. Even the apostles with regard to his resurrection. Mary Magdalene told them, but “they did not believe.” (Mk 16:11b). The two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus told them, “but they did not believe them either.” (Mk 16:13b).

Then Jesus himself “appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.” (Mk 16:14b). Today there are many so-called disciples of Jesus, those who claim to be Christian, who still do not believe those who proclaim the gospel. If they believed, then they would accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, with the attendant transformation of life. As it is, their hearts have been hardened by sin, by indifference, by selfishness, by materialism, by secularism, by unforgiveness, and by many other things not of the Lord.

The soil is hard. And at times, even religious leaders are the ones opposing the proclamation of the gospel, by the bad witness of sinful lives, by the culture of political correctness, by the acceptance of all religions as just the same, by the focus on everything else except mission. There can even be persecution from religious leaders, as was experienced by the apostles. The Sanhedrin “ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18).

Did they then back down? Did they shut up? Were they intimidated? No! Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20). Jesus had told them to proclaim the gospel. No earthly or satanic power could keep them from doing so.

It should be the same with us. Today, almost everyone is against the authentic Christian faith­the secular humanists, modernists, anti-lifers, transgenders, political elites, liberal billionaires, giant abortion providers, Islamic and Hindu radicals, and so on. They are using not just verbal threats but political, economic and legal pressures and constraints to rein in the gospel. So there will be a great price to pay for those who persist in doing the work of evangelization.

But we have Jesus on our side, who strengthens and empowers us. “The Lord, my strength and might, has become my savior.” (Ps 118:14). If God is for us, who can be against us?

Only in the name of Jesus are we saved. We are commissioned to preach this gospel of salvation in Jesus. We do so in the power of the Holy Spirit. “The Lord’s right hand works valiantly, the Lord’s right hand is raised; the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.” (Ps 118:15b-16). We have been delivered from sin and brought from death to life; this is what we proclaim. “I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the Lord.” (Ps 118:17).

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