Key Texts: 2 Tim. 1:8, 9; Isa. 42:1-9; Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 10:5, 6; Acts 1:1-14.
The lesson this week focuses on Jesus as the master of missions. It is interesting to reflect on just how it was that Jesus went about his work. Notice that there are several phases identifiable:
- Jesus participated in the establishment of a mission to save those on earth when he was yet in heaven as part of the Trinity. Surely this establishes a basic reality about God and his desire to save. How do you think that can get translated into the life of believers now?
- The next phase of Jesus ministry was to come from heaven to earth in order to enter into human experience. This coming down from heaven to earth is sometimes known as “the great condescension” (see Philippians 2) and it is an absolutely remarkable event in history. Talk about some of the implications of this event. What difference does the coming down of Jesus as a babe have for us?
- Jesus is next depicted as going to his own people, the Jews. Notice how he set up a base of operations mostly in Galilee, Capernaum being a favorite place for a while. What do you think the benefits of having a known base of operations might be? What would the down-side of this idea be?
- We see Jesus also carrying his message and ministry to the gentiles. Think of some evidences and examples of Jesus taking the good news of his kingdom to those who were not Jewish. What implications do you draw from these actions?
- Lastly, we come to the well-known Great Commission of Matthew 28. Discuss the key components of this commission. What strategy does it lay out? How effectively do you think it has been followed. How close to fulfilment do you think it is? How are teaching and baptizing linked here and what implications would this have for missions? What obstacles do you think the early believers faced? What gave them power? What is God responsible for here and what humans?
- Talk about how closely Christians have followed the elements of the Great Commission. And if the Gospel has not yet gone to the whole world, why do you think that to be the case? Can you think of anything else in the Bible that might also qualify as a Great Commission? How about Jesus’ famous call to come and follow him? Does not one commission ask us to come and the other ask us to go? How do you make sense of this?
- The emphasis on the Great Commission by the church in the Western world has led to the comment that the church in the West is the “Go to” church. We go to other places, do some work, and then leave. How would missions look if we also included the invitation of Jesus to “Come, follow me?” Can it not be said that some of mission involves coming to be with people not just going to take on tasks?