The Mission Next Door

Text: Luke 9:18-19
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ 19They answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ (NRSV)

As I read this text, I wonder what the answers would be today if the “crowds” were asked who Jesus was.  I remember a video I use to have several years ago that I would play just before our Easter worship service.  In the video, people on the street were asked about the meaning of Easter.  The answers were far afield of the true meaning of Easter.  I’m pretty sure we would get similarly far off answers to the question Jesus has asked the disciples if we were to ask it today.

If people outside of the church, “the crowds”, were asked today, of those who actually had even heard of Jesus, the answers would probably be, “a good man”, “an ethical teacher”, “a social activist”, “a first-century religious teacher”, etc., etc., etc...

I have to ask myself why, in a country that was founded by Christians looking for a place to freely practice their Christianity according to their beliefs, that we are now a country that is structured in such a way that even talking about our religion is seen as a cultural taboo?  

The one positive I see in this situation, is that those who follow Jesus now, have so much more opportunity than previous generations of Christians to practice our mandate to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  We don’t have to go to a foreign country to be missionaries to those who are hurting and do not have the hope that is found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  We can probably just walk next door.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of hope give me the courage to ask those whom I know who are hurting and without hope, who they think Jesus is.  And then, give me the grace to offer them the hope I have in the love you continue to pour into my life through Jesus.  AMEN.

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