“Christians have been given the full responsibility for the proclamation of the forgiveness of sin for everybody in the world” (Ed Stetzer).
That may sound a little dramatic, but we think it’s what implied in the Commission Statements of Jesus, and particularly in the one we looked at last Sunday:
“Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:44-49)
The word used for ‘Witness’ is the word we would also translate ‘Martyr’, as in a person who cannot contemplate a life separated from the Gospel message. To a martyr, their life and the message of Jesus are so intertwined that they would rather die with the message, than live separated from it.
That’s what we’ve meant by the word ‘Sentness’. It’s the idea that the Gospel message, which upon believing it rescues us, is the very same message that compels us to proclaim it.
Let’s be real here: this Gospel message is not just a nice piece of advice, like that golfing tip you saw on YouTube. We’re talking about the solution to everything that’s wrong with the world. That kind of News has some force to it. A gravitational pull that won’t allow you to just toss it aside along with that useless advice about dieting you got from a magazine. This kind of News becomes so attached to you that you may not be able to contemplate life without it.
That’s what some people call a Martyr. It’s what Jesus called a witness. It’s what the Church has since called Disciples.