FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
JESUS IS LORD AND MESSIAH
April 10, 2012
Today’s reading: Acts 2:36-41
What is the good news that we proclaim? It is this: “God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36b). Jesus went to the cross and won for us our salvation. With his resurrection he has won victory over death, sin and the devil. He reigns over all. Jesus is Lord and Savior.
Now that is a very powerful proclamation. When people hear this, they can be “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37a). Upon hearing the proclamation of this truth, upon being convicted in their heart, they move to the next step, which is to ask, “What are we to do, my brothers?” (Acts 2:37b). No one can be unmoved by the story of the sacrificial death of Jesus. Hearing the gospel necessitates a response.
What is that response? “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38a). The proper response is repentance of sin and turning to faith in Jesus as the Christ. Then one receives sacramental Baptism to be cleansed of sin and to be incorporated into the body of Christ on earth. When this happens, then “you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38b). God’s very own Spirit comes to dwell in us, with our bodies becoming the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Wow! God did the most loving act of all in dying for us on the cross. Now God dwells within us in order to ultimately bring us to heaven. This is the beginning and the end. And what is in between? What allows the beginning to move to the end? It is the work of evangelization, the work given as a privilege to us.
This work is of critical importance. It is the most importance work or service a Christian can do for others. It is what fulfills the call of the Church to be a missionary body.
We live in a corrupt and darkened world. Only Jesus can save us from this sinful world, which plunges deeper into faithlessness and depravity. Now Jesus has done what he needed to do. It is now all up to us. People need to hear the gospel, and respond to it with repentance and faith. “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts 2:40b).
The gospel also is not just for us but for all — for the generations after us and for the whole world. “For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39). Now God calls everyone, wanting all to be saved.
We are called and so we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our children are called and so we work to renew and strengthen our family. All the nations are called and so we do a wide purposeful work of rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization.
Peter preached the gospel and “about three thousand persons were added that day.” (Acts 2:41b). From there the Christian Church grew rapidly and massively, ultimately encompassing the whole world.
In this third millennium, there is an even greater urgency to preach the gospel. The world is in deeper darkness than ever before. We are hurtling into the end of time. The Lord is counting on all his true disciples. Let us do our part.
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