August 20

1 Corinthians 16:5-24 / Read

“Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20)

“You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.” (Jesus in Acts 1:8)

The mission of Jesus was to empower a movement of the Gospel throughout the whole world. His message is that God loves people and desperately desires a relationship with them - so much so that he would give anything, including the life of his own Son, to remove the barrier of sin between them and welcome them into his family. His method was to embody this message to a few, invite them to follow him and send them as his representatives to the next generation of followers.

We see this movement on full display in today’s reading. Paul, the pioneering evangelist of the early church, was moving through Macedonia (modern-day Turkey); his apprentice and co-worker, Timothy, was being sent to represent him in Corinth; Apollos would eventually follow, a great preacher who had been sharing the Gospel throughout Greece; Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus were also Greeks who Paul lifted up as examples of what it meant to join to mission of Jesus; Aquila and Priscilla were business people from Italy who had met Paul in Corinth, responded to the Gospel and ended up accompanying him to Syria - they were a great help to Paul’s work and also lead a church out of their home.

In our modern, Western culture, many images come to our mind with the word “church”. But how accurate are they? It would appear from the New Testament that Jesus intended church to be a family, founded on the Gospel, sharing his identity and his relationship with the Father, and participating in his mission to extend his good news to the ends of the earth.

  • What do you think the connection is between identity (who you are) and activity (what you do)? Think about this question in terms of your family life, working life and spiritual life.

  • To what degree are you participating in the mission of Jesus? What do you sense God saying to you as you answer that question?

  • What might it look like for you to participate more fully in the mission of Jesus? Does it mean starting something? Does it mean stopping something? Do you have a “family” with whom you will go on mission?