The Disciples’ First Assignment: Do Nothing


dscf0009J. D. Greear in Jesus Continued:

Let’s go back to that moment when Jesus first laid the Great Commission on the disciples. He said: “First assignment, do nothing but wait.” (Luke 24:49, my paraphrase). Think about how hard (and humiliating) that instruction must have been! Every person on earth needed to hear the gospel, and these are the only guys who know anything about it. Some of the disciples had to be type-A. Can’t you just hear them murmuring under their breaths: “Uhh … wait? But there’s a world of great need out there, getting more lost by the moment! We need to raise money, now! Matthew, take up an offering! Peter, write some sermons! John, write a book! James, organize a pastors’ conference! Thomas, get to work on an apologetics manual!”

Regardless of what they might have thought, however, they did just what Jesus told them to do. They waited. For ten days, they did absolutely nothing about thousands of unreached people groups languishing without the gospel, millions of people in slavery, and thousands of orphans in need of adoption.

They waited. For the Holy Spirit.

Why did Jesus make them wait for the Holy Spirit—why not give the Spirit immediately and have them get on with it?

Probably because he wanted them (and us) to learn that the Great Commission was not something they could accomplish for him. It was something he must do through them. “I will build my church,” Jesus had said, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it;” not, “You will build my church, and the gates of hell will admire it.” He is the architect, we merely the unskilled laborers. We are conduits, not “co-Messiahs.” Ironically, we will do more when we realize that the weight of the matter rests on him, not us.

Let this sink in: The weight of responsibility for the mission does not rest on our shoulders, but on Jesus’ shoulders.

  • He leads; we follow.
  • He commands; we obey.
  • He supplies; we steward.
  • He delivers; we worship.

At our best, we are only unprofitable servants, costing God the blood of his Son. In other words, our contribution to the kingdom has been net-negative. And for that reason, he gets all the glory.

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