New Testament Revelation of Mission

[Original post] // [Part 2]

Within the New Testament the very principal of “go and tell and bring in” is laid out as the motive and the method of God to the people of the Earth. There is no mistaking the deliberate and active pursuit of all of humanity through the message of the cross. (1 Timothy 2:4) Through the tracking and preservation of Israel, God displays and corrects the whole of human experience as associated to the fall, redemptive purpose, and the subsequent inability of man to gain valued relationship with himself, his surrounding, and ultimately his God. Over the course of several thousand years God manages to piece together a story of devastation, judgment, reform, and dependency that is philosophically unique in nature and blatantly evident in application. As practical philosophy gained its acceptance and propagation outside of Israel culminating in the inter-testamental period, so the hearts and minds of a once closed off and divided humanity began to embrace a centralized and developed sense of reason. National superstition slowly declines and a more universal concept of history becomes prevalent.

The internal implications of the oral and written traditions of Judaism seem to fit (although shakily) with the oral and self-revelatory development of Socratic ideal and its adherent statesmen.[1] Then on the scene bursts the Christ of the gospels who compels men to follow him. His mission is to the Jew, but interwoven throughout his ministry is a compulsion to exceed the boundaries of Judah and embrace the whole of mankind. Then in a bold command that completes the picture of God’s call and promise to Abram, the risen Christ commissions his followers to with these words

Matthew 28: 18-19 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The details are direct, immediate, and foundational to the purpose of God by Christian theology in relation to man. The writer of Hebrews details the entire layout of this plan and its game changing effect on all of creation. No longer is there a disconnect between promise and action; the action of death, burial, and resurrection become the fulfillment of the promise, and now all men regardless of nationality, background, gender, or level of intellect have an intermediary and reconciliatory agent to cross the vast gulf of separation between God and man.(Galatians 3:26-29)

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The true transcendental power of this revelation isn’t that it happened (because it was God’s already stated intent) but that those who embrace its tenet are brought into the process of ensuring its furtherance. Instead of being an outside observer/interpreter of divine intervention (like the prior prophets, priests, and kings), those called to be reconciled to God are in turn sent out to reconcile others. We are literally “Given the ministry of reconciliation”, and called individually as priests and witnesses of God’s redemptive nature.

2 Corinthians 5: 18-21 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

[1] Steinberg, David. “The Impact of Greek Culture on Normative Judaism from the Hellenistic Period through the Middle Ages c. 330 BCE- 1250 CE. Adath Shalom.

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