FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
IT IS THE LORD!
April 5, 2013
We are commissioned to be fishers of men. In this work, it is Jesus who calls us, sends us and empowers us. It is Jesus whom we proclaim. Jesus is the subject and the object of our work of evangelization.
One problem of evangelizers is that they often are focused on themselves, that is, their gifts, resources, capabilities and strength. They say, “I am going fishing.” (Jn 21:3a). And more often than not, they encounter limited success. As with the disciples, “they caught nothing.” (Jn 21:3d). But of course. How can divine work be accomplished through human strength?
Another problem of evangelizers is that, while they know Jesus, they do not really know him. What does this seeming contradiction mean? When evangelizers encounter success in their evangelistic work, they do know that it is due to the grace and power of God. As such, “they realized it was the Lord.” (Jn 21:12c). But what most do not know is the profound mystery of the workings of God, the awesome majesty that is God’s, the fullness of signs and wonders that come along with doing His work, the call for his disciples/evangelizers to be holy as He is holy. They do not graduate into this higher plane because “none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’” (Jn 21:12b).
Who indeed is this Lord whom we serve and whose name we proclaim? “The Lord, my strength and might, has become my savior.” (Ps 118:14). He is “the cornerstone” (Ps 118:22b) of our lives, and it is he who empowers us in our work. In his name we cut off nations surrounding us (Ps 118:10), in danger he sets us free (Ps 118:5), with him as our helper we look in triumph on our foes (Ps 118:7).
Jesus has been revealing himself to us, from the time we met him and accepted him as Savior and Lord. “The Lord is God and has enlightened us.” (Ps 118:27a). Would that we would recognize Jesus in every aspect of our lives, and joyfully proclaim, “It is the Lord.” (Jn 21:7b).
A third problem of evangelizers is their failure to truly appreciate the depth and importance of the work that they do. It is all about salvation for all, and proclaiming Christ who is the only Savior. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4:12). What a privilege! To speak the name of Jesus. To be instruments by which people are saved.
If evangelizers truly realized this profound mystery of God’s commissioning, nothing could hold them back. They can be confronted by the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees (Acts 4:1) and they would not be intimidated. Opponents could lay hands on them and put them in custody (Acts 4:3) and they would not be deterred. They could be questioned menacingly as to what they were doing (Acts 4:7) and they would just take that as an blessed opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
We are called to be evangelizers. The harvest is ready, and if we respond, and we truly know whom we serve and what we do, then we can look to impressive results. When we cast our net, we will be hard put “to pull it in because of the number of fish.” (Jn 21:6b). Then we will truly know, “By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.” (Ps 118:23).
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