Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV)
And I, (the apostle Paul) when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)
Jesus gives His disciples the Great Commission and tells them to go out, to baptize, to teach, and to preach. It sounds so easy, but going out to teach and preach proves to be life changing for the disciples, and not necessarily in a good way. All but one of the original twelve disciples died as martyrs- the exception being the disciple John who lived out his life in exile on the island of Patmos, where he wrote Revelation, the final book of the Bible.
The reality of the risen Jesus was not lost on the disciples. Since Jesus is raised from the dead, since His promise to us is sure, then where is the fear of death?
The apostle Paul realized that teaching about Jesus wasn’t necessarily based on flowery words and deep theology. Paul aspired to know nothing but Christ crucified, and to let the Holy Spirit speak through his words. The phrase, “Just give me Jesus,” comes to mind. Apart from Him, nothing else on heaven or earth matters.
In these trying times it can be challenging to know nothing but Christ crucified- when there is so much uncertainty and so many urgent things clamoring for our attention. Yet only in Him do we find comfort and peace, and courage. Since we know that death is not the end, in Christ we have the confidence to be bold. We have the confidence to speak the truth, to love, to sacrifice, because He is risen. Death holds no power over Him, and death is not the end for us.
Our faith cannot rest in the wisdom of fallible humans- humans who once believed the world was flat, humans whose best science and technology is flawed and often ill-informed.
Our faith must be in the risen Christ, the first fruits of they who sleep.
He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed. Lord Jesus, give us the gift of faith so that we will never wander far from You.