v 8. Jesus said ‘And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
God’s plan for his people to spread the Good News round the world.
Matthew ended his account of the life of Jesus with the clear command we read yesterday. Luke picks this up at what is the opening of Volume 2 of his account of the origins of Christian faith. Volume 1 is Luke’s Gospel, and now he turns his attention in Volume 2 to the spread of the Good News throughout the world – a task that continues even today and of which you are a part.
It is important to notice, right from the outset, that Jesus defines the task in hand. Down the ages Christians have done many great things that have made a difference to communities and indeed whole nations. They have founded hospitals, started schools, fed the hungry, cared for widows and orphans, and brought peace and justice to a disturbed world. At the heart of all this work however lies the fundamental message which Jesus commanded them to announce. Everything else is peripheral to the central obligation of telling people about me everywhere. Telling people about Jesus is the most fundamental obligation of every Christian believer. How to go about that is a pressing issue for all of us. It’s not preaching from a pulpit or shouting on street corners, nor can it be dodged by saying we pray for lots of people. Jesus says to us unambiguously, ‘Tell people about me’; how we can respond to that challenge in the place where God has put us is a matter for each one of us to consider.