you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8 NIV)
As I was growing up one of the TV programmes that I liked to watch was Mission Impossible.
It depicted the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) used for covert missions against dictators, evil organizations and crime lords.
Most episodes began with the leader of the IMF getting the assignment from a hidden tape recorder and an envelope of photos and information that explained the mission.
The tape almost always began with “Good morning/afternoon/evening, Mr Phelps and ended with “Your mission Jim, should you decide to accept it is followed by This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.” Then smoke would rise from the tape, and the instructions would be destroyed.
We then saw how this impossible mission was achieved by these secrets agents.
Following Jesus death and resurrection and shortly before His ascension, he gave an assignment to His followers: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
Hold a minute!
Jesus disciples werent a team of secret agents; they were a group of frightened deserters hiding away for fear of the Jews. They didnt really believe what Jesus had said since they werent waiting for His resurrection on the 3rd day; rather they preferred to go back to their old jobs.
How was this mission impossible going to be possible?
Let me suggest 3 things that made the difference.
First they had an encounter with the risen Lord which filled them with great joy (John 20:20) following which Jesus gave them their assignment: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. (V.21).
Second, the power of the Holy Spirit would come upon them to lead, guide and strengthen them in this task: repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:47,49) Witnessing for Jesus to the ends of the earth could only take place following the Holy Spirit coming upon them in power (Acts 1:8).
Then finally, there was the promise that wherever the disciples went with the gospel message, Jesus would be with them: surely I am with you always (Matthew 28:20)
With these 3 things the impossible became possible.
We too have to carry on the Great Commission to the ends of the earth, and as with the disciples, we will only be able to complete that task in so far as we are sure that Jesus rose from the dead and we have met with Him personally; that we witness in the power of the Spirit and not our strength, knowing that Jesus is with us to the very end of the age. (V.20)
With these 3 things in place we all can be a part of Gods Possible Missions Force.
Father, may we participate with You and the Son and the Spirit in taking the good news about salvation through Jesus to the ends of this earth. Help us to begin in our community as you provide opportunity.
Have a good week being Jesus witnesses,