As we follow the account of the Triumphant entry into Jerusalem by Jesus, we find ourselves dealing with an unusual request being made of Jesus and an equally unusual response from Jesus. John 12:20-26
For three years the ministry of Jesus had been limited to the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Both His audience and His travel was exclusively done in a Jewish context. Now as the last week begins its countdown, Jesus has some Greeks wanting to see Him. The ministry is beginning to burst out from Jerusalem and Judea into other parts of the World. The Gospel is now about to cross its first cultural boundary. Jesus sees this new request as another confirmation to the fast approach of the Cross.
The ministry could no longer be contained in one human body. It was now time for the Church to be born. A new ministry that in time would go to the four corners of the world proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Just one thing remained before this could commence. The culmination of the Ministry at the Cross, followed by the Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus, which in turn would allow for the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost.
Jesus could no longer contain His ministry to a handful of disciples, it was time for Him to fill the hearts of all in His Church. And that meant it was time for the Cross.
This becomes a direct line between this conversation and those of us who believe in Jesus today. If Jesus never died, then there would be no Gospel and the Church would never have left Jerusalem and Judea. A line that goes from this day, through the Cross and Pentecost, all the way to today, here in Australia.
This makes us links in a chain, having heard the Gospel and having been saved, to having the burden to pass the faith onto the next link in that chain. “But wait!” you say. Evangelism is not my call. Don’t expect me to do the job of one of them, I’ll just come to Church most Sundays (providing there is nothing better on) and put my $5 in the plate so you can do that.”
There is a problem with that. I don’t have a Bible verse that supports that idea. Show me where it says ‘Come most Sundays and put $5 in so the Pastor can make converts.’
I do have verses that command us to go and make disciples. (Matt 28:16-20) Fortunately, this is a team effort, and Christians working together do achieve extraordinary things.
Some years ago, there was a Church where the people were mostly over retirement age. They decided to have lunch after Church on Sundays and invite their friends. Soon 50 people were 75, and many friends were now also coming to Church every Sunday. This led to questions about faith, which meant opportunities to share the Gospel, and soon souls were being saved.
Every Christian can tell another person why they believe. And when we work together with God, people will listen. Remember Jesus said, “I will build My Church…” Matt 16:18 It is Jesus who gives the growth.