Every Sunday is a great gift from God. But last Sunday…last Sunday our local congregation received more of God’s goodness than we have room for: we welcomed new visitors to worship. We began a more diverse church information class than we’ve ever had. We had a great start to a Sunday afternoon ministry at the local Veteran’s Home. And in the evening, we sent out our first missionary, who is now in south Asia working at a home for children of lepers.
I would like to share with you one thought from the sermon Sunday night. My goal in the sermon was to show the connection between Jesus’ resurrection and missions–how Matthew 28 begins with the resurrection and flows naturally into the great commission. The one thought is this: because Jesus is raised from the dead, missions isn’t a fair fight.
Last week, the St. Louis Cardinals won one of the best world series in history. One thing that makes this so amazing is how poorly they were doing, even as late as August when they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers, putting them 10 1/2 games out of the wild card. Yet here they are, world champions. In a very clever article, Joe Posnanski (my current favorite sportswriter) pretends to write an article from August 24th, predicting the Cardinals will win the world series. In one shot, the article shows how amazing the Cardinals late season run was by showing how ridiculous that prediction would have sounded in August.
But here’s my point: Posnanski can write it because he already knows how it ends. And this is what the resurrection means for missions. Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again. He rose to his mediatorial throne, where he is now reigning over all things. And his resurrection is the absolute guarantee that every tongue will confess him as Lord, to the glory of the Father.
This means that missions isn’t a fair fight. We don’t send missionaries wondering whether Jesus is king of the nations, wondering whether Jesus is moving and working in the world. We send missionaries because we already know how it ends, because we get to take part in the victory we know is coming. Regardless of how things appear to our eyes, how dire our spiritual hope might be, remember: Jesus is alive. He can’t not win.