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  • Writer's pictureGWL

"So... What Now?"

"So... What Now?"

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Acts 2:17-21

Matthew 28:18-20

“So... what now?” That was basically the question on the Disciples’ minds, after Jesus’ resurrection... “What do we do now?”

Of course, after Jesus arose... he appeared to his followers for forty days (the period on the church calender we call the Easter Season). And during that time he taught and explained that his death and resurrection had been part of God's plan to redeem his people. And at the end of that forty days, Jesus assembled his followers together... telling them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit... then... he ascended into heaven.

And that’s when Jesus’ followers looked to Peter - wondering “now what?” “Now what do we do?”

Of course, it makes sense they’d look to Peter... Peter was the chief Apostle. He was the one always quick to take charge, or speak up. Peter, I imagine, thought about it a minute... and said, "Well I guess we should find someone to replace Judas."

So they cast lots and Matthias was chosen.

What do we do now? It's a good question, even for Jesus’ followers in the 21st Century. What do we disciples of Jesus do now?

There is a common way of speaking among theologians that says you & I live in "the between time." We live in that period of time between the ascension of Jesus and his promised return. So our place on the time-line of God's plan for creation is in between the time that Jesus came and the time when he will come again.

But, what are we supposed to do now as we wait on him to return?

Well, some think that we should be keeping things “decently and in-order.” Sounds fairly Presbyterian! As we await Jesus' return we should keep the house clean and maintain internal order. That's what Peter appears to be doing: keeping things in order. So we should make sure we have ministers of God in every pulpit and in every office. We should have our crosses polished and our steeples on straight as we wait for Jesus to come again.

But is that really what Jesus wants us to do today? Did Jesus intend that we spend all our time just maintaining the church?

I don’t think Jesus gave his life for his disciples to sit around polishing the silver!

The scripture we’ve come to call the “Great Commission” - that we read for our Call to Worship today, from Matthew 28:19-20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you...” makes our calling clear!

Jesus says, in John 17:18, as he prayed for his disciples and the ministry they would offer after his return to the Father: "As you (God) have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (17:18) God sent Jesus into the world to preach and teach and heal and lead the lost back to God. He was crucified for his trouble. So Jesus asks the Father for the protection of his disciples as he sends us out to do the same kinds of things he did.

So, again... what should we do now as we await Jesus' return? Seems like a no-brainer! We should be out in the world carrying on the work that Jesus started.

Just as the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us. We should be caring for the sick, sharing the Gospel with the lost, and teaching/encouraging one another. This is our mission. Simply maintaining is not a mission.

So, was Peter wrong? Were the first followers of Christ wrong to focus on maintenance after Jesus ascended?

No, because they were told to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. That is what happened on Pentecost. God's Holy Spirit came down and the church was empowered - the followers of Christ were equipped with everything they needed to build up the kingdom of Christ.

The difference between them and us... is they were living before the Holy Spirit came and so they could do nothing, until he came.

We, on-the-other-hand live after the Holy Spirit has come. Meaning we’re without excuse. Our calling is to go forth in mission like Jesus. Jesus is coming again, and there’s a lot of work to be done. There are people who need to hear the Good News... there are needs that need to be met... there are hurting people to be comforted.

When Jesus returns I hope he doesn't catch us so busy polishing our crosses, that we have no time to share the love, grace, and mercy of Christ.

Let's hope that he finds us hard at work - filled with the power of the Spirit Christ has given us - fulfilling his mission of love and light.

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