Til the Whole World Hears….
I have to admit something. I am not exactly proud of it, but I will justify it because I was only twelve at the time. Maybe some of you will find it amusing…..
So I used to be absolutely freaked out thinking about the end of the world. It kept me up at night. Literally for hours. I could not wrap my brain around the concept of eternity (still can’t) and I would lie awake scared to death of it. And then, I found a loophole (or so I thought) to put God in a box and stop the second coming of His Son. Tricky, tricky….
I knew by Bible well enough to know that “no one knows the day or the hour.” So, what was so genius of a 12-year-old, I convinced myself every night, upon thinking of the end of the world and eternity, that the next day was the end of the world. And if I “knew” it to be the end of the world, certainly it could not be because “no one knows.”
For three+ years, it worked.
But then I matured and my theology expanded. By the time I was sixteen, I was convinced that the end of the world could not be tomorrow or the next day because there were still pockets of the world that had yet to hear the Easter Gospel message of our Risen Savior. Then computers and the internet came, and that game plan went out the window as well.
But this perspective came to a crashing halt on Saturday night, in our third to last night of Ace Hoops programming at Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis. Horrifically ignorant, I had this perspective that the Easter Gospel message of our Risen Savior had yet to reach the four corners of the world, and by the four corners of the world this meant islands in the South Pacific, Africa, remote villages of the Amazon, and the igloo civilization of the North Pole.
And then, on Saturday, I realized with one small comment from one small boy that I was largely mistaken. In between the fun, food, and basketball, we dedicate about twenty minutes of our time every week diving into a culturally relevant discussion of Jesus Christ. And because it was Easter weekend, this past Saturday we talked about Christ’s suffering on the cross and His resurrection three days later.
After showing a clip from The Passion, one boy asked, “Is Jesus still on the cross?”
And there it was. One six-word sentence destroying sixteen years of my misguided perspectives. This boy—from the remote parts of Lake & Chicago in Minneapolis—had never been told of Jesus Christ. Not once, not ever….prior to Saturday. Whether in passing or in vain, maybe he had heard of Jesus before, but never the story. Never about His life, His death, or His resurrection.
Saturday, April 23rd was a first for him, and a first for me. And both firsts are tragic.
The world needs Jesus. And yes, that means the South Pacific needs Jesus, as does Africa and the Amazon. And yes, that might mean the igloo people of the North Pole. But it also might just mean the person living to your left or to your right. Down the block and up the street. Jesus is foreign to millions of people right here in the great U.S of A. Some may have been introduced to Jesus and rejected Him. (They still need Jesus). Others, like little Johnny from Ace Hoops (until Saturday!), have never, not once, heard of the Easter Gospel message of our Risen Savior. And they need Jesus too!
Whether here or there or halfway around the world, the reality is that we all, if we profess to follow Jesus Christ, are missionaries. The question is: are we good missionaries or bad ones? Time to get moving! We’ve got work to do!
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28: 16-20)