FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
OUR WORK OF EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION – 5
November 30, 2015
Jesus called the first disciples and told them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). This is the same call to us who profess to be Christ’s disciples. This call is of the utmost importance, because it is about the very salvation of the world. We need to share Christ.
Jesus saved us by his death on the cross and his resurrection. How do we experience that salvation in our lives? We accept what Jesus has done for us, accepting him as Savior and Lord. Thus, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9). And so it is that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom 10:13).
But how does a person get to that point of calling upon the name of the Lord? There is a process that God has instituted as part of the Great Commission. “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15a). So here is the God-ordained process of evangelization that leads to salvation:
Sending preaching hearing believing calling on the name of the Lord
So Jesus started the process going by sending (commissioning) his disciples before he ascended into heaven. They then proclaimed the gospel so people heard. By the grace of God they believed, then called on the name of the Lord, and so were saved. So as Jesus has already sent us, the crucial response for us is to preach (proclaim the gospel). This is needed so people can hear. This is so important that it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:15b).
Of course not everyone who hears the gospel will respond positively. “But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?’” (Rom 10:16). But it is no longer our responsibility to get people to believe; our responsibility is to proclaim the gospel, so that they will have the opportunity to believe. What is important is that there be the opportunity to hear and thus believe. If one does not hear, what is there to accept? “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17).
This then is our task and responsibility. We are to proclaim the gospel. We are to do so to the very ends of the earth. “But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for ‘Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom 10:18).
The work of evangelization and mission is of the utmost importance. God gives us the great privilege of doing His divine work, of continuing with the salvific mission of Jesus. We must, like the apostles, respond with total commitment. For Peter and Andrew “at once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:20). For James and John, “immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt 4:22).
Let us follow Jesus and obey his command. Let us proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to the ends of the earth. “A report goes forth through all the earth, their messages, to the ends of the world.” (Ps 19:5a).
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