Jesus and Mission
A series about what we have to learn from Jesus on a range of subjects. This month, Matt Stone looks at Jesus’ attitude to mission
Jesus began his ministry with the famous words, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’. The first disciples heeded Jesus’ call, dropping their nets, and following him as he led them into a new life full of the topsy-turvy blessings of God. As we carry on reading through the Gospels, we soon learn, however, that to follow Jesus is not just to be the recipient of God’s blessings. To follow Jesus means to be participants, not spectators, of God’s growing mission. We come to Jesus so that we might be sent by Jesus.
The kingdom of God is not something we can grow in our own strength. It’s God’s initiative, God’s work, God’s rule and reign – not ours. Similarly, mission doesn’t start with us. It’s not about what we want to do for our community. It starts with God, it’s rooted and driven by God’s deep love and compassion for people. Jesus demonstrated this beautifully, as Matthew says: ‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’..
Matt Stone is a United Reformed Church minister in Rotherham and Doncaster, and Chair of GEAR – the Group for Evangelism and Renewal in the URC
This is an extract from an article published in the May 2023 edition of Reform