Easter in the rearview mirror. Where do we now turn our spiritual attention? After such a concentrated time of remembering the death of Jesus and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, where do we now fix our eyes?
If you’ve been pondering questions like these the past few days, you’re not alone. Jesus’ disciples actually found themselves in a similar mindset after his resurrection.
Even after Jesus had revealed his resurrected self to the eleven remaining disciples twice, proved to them that it was really him, rebuked them for their unbelief, opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and promised the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:36-53, John 20:19-22), they still weren’t sure what to do next. Peter and six other disciples even went back to fishing!
While they were fishing, Jesus revealed himself to them a third time by appearing to them from the shore and commanding them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, which resulted in a huge catch of fish. No doubt this miraculous experience helped Peter recall the very beginning of his relationship with Jesus when the Lord had first called him to follow him, no longer fishing for fish, but for men (Luke 5:1-11).
Peter immediately jumped into the sea and swam ashore to meet Jesus. After they had shared a meal together Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Growing increasingly dejected as Jesus repeated his question, Peter responded each time, “You know that I love you.”
In reply to Peter’s three “You know that I love you” responses, Jesus says: “Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow me.” Jesus is reminding Peter of the calling on his life to become a fisher of men – to care for the flock of Christ. This call is the same for all believers. Do you love Jesus? Then follow him and make disciples!
Elsewhere, in the other three gospels, Jesus gives a more general command to his followers as a whole (not just Peter) when he says in Matthew, “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.” Mark phrases it like this, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, while Luke records in the Book of Acts that Jesus told his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here lies the answer to our original question.
After experiencing the resurrection of Jesus in our personal lives, we are very clearly commanded to go about the same work and mission of Christ that Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples were to pursue – taking the gospel to the whole world, starting at home in our cities, states, and countries and eventually reaching the nations of the world.
There is no better time than the days and weeks following the resurrection to recommit our whole lives to the mission of Christ – to sharing the gospel message of Jesus with our families, friends, neighbors, cities, and beyond. The resurrection of Jesus is the good news that we are to share – that because of his new life, we can find new life in him. That he has conquered sin and death on our behalf and welcomes us into relationship with him.
It is to this mission that all believers are called – to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus, teaching them about who he is and how to follow him. Here just a few practical suggestions for how YOU can actually take steps toward accomplishing the mission that Christ has called you to as a follower of his.
Commit to praying every day by name for people in your life who haven’t yet found new life in Christ.
Commit to praying every day for your Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria – that the gospel message will spread deep and wide into the hearts of those who live near to you.
Commit to praying for the worldwide Church and missionaries as they seek to bring the good news of the resurrection to lost communities around the world.
Commit to obeying Jesus’ Great Commission every day by always being ready to share the gospel when the time arises.
Think of one believer and one non-believer that you know and commit to walking them both closer to Jesus.
After experiencing the resurrection of Jesus in a personal way, every believer is called to join the mission of Jesus, to be a fisher of men, to care for the flock, to go and make disciples. He is risen, now join the mission.