The Real Reason
Jesus’ purpose in sending out the disciples went beyond the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Rather, He wanted them to experience the power of the Holy Spirit themselves, and thus be strengthened in their faith to continue learning and growing as disciples of the Kingdom. Today many people confuse this purpose of the working of the power of the Holy Spirit, treating it as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end. This is a sad and misleading way to treat the Holy Spirit. Jesus actually offered severe warnings against such things when he taught His disciples. (ex: Lk 10:20, Mt 7:23 & 24:21-25)
In the preaching of the Gospel, the advancement of the Kingdom is a battle raging with conflicts in heaven and on earth. And though the disciples were not necessarily aware of it, sometimes they were even used by the evil one to hinder the work of Jesus who was in obedience to the will of the Father. Thus, Jesus was facing resistance not only from outside of His camp, but also from within.
Later, even among His disciples, those whom He called friends and brothers, one (Judas Iscariot) betrayed Him; and others either abandoned Him or denied Him. This fulfilled what was prophesied in Psalm 69:19-28, only in His case He prayed for those who persecuted Him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Our Lord chose to fulfill the will of His Father and the truth of His Message, even to the point of death on the cross, as one who was cursed. This is the complete opposite of what man had perceived the Messiah (the Anointed One) would be.
Jesus taught His disciples about the Kingdom of God. He commissioned them to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and to make disciples in all nations after they were “clothed with power from on high”, in the same way that He had discipled them.
Acts 1:3 [NIV]
3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Luk. 24:45-49 [NIV]
45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Matt. 28:16-20 [NIV]
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Tomorrow we’ll see that the Apostles carried on this message. Won’t you invite someone to join us?
This post is _Part 3_ in a series on the Kingdom of God. To continue with this series, click here for Part 4. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series and then read Pt 1 and Pt 2.
Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble