Jesus’ Missional Summons
Finally, since Jesus brings the Old Testament covenants to their end-time fulfillments, his discipleship summons necessarily includes the call to mission. All the way back in the call of Abram, God announced his intention to bless all nations through him and his seed (Gen. 12:3). God also declared to the generation who received the Mosaic Covenant that they were “a kingdom of priests” (Exod. 19:6), suggesting their role of mediating the knowledge of Israel’s God to the nations of the world. Similarly, the Davidic Covenant envisions a day when the Davidic heir will inherit “the ends of the earth” (Ps. 2:8–12) and mediate the Abrahamic blessings to all nations (Ps. 72:1, 8, 17).
It is for this reason that Jesus declares his followers to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13–16), for they are the means through whom this covenantal expectation would find its fulfillment. Jesus’ sending out of his disciples on their missionary journeys (Matthew 10; Luke 10) and his so-called “Great Commission” (Matt. 28:19–20) express this covenantal purpose. Consequently, as his disciples proclaim and demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God (Matt. 10:1, 5–42), often exposing themselves to persecution and impoverishment in the process (Matt. 25:31–46), these great covenantal hopes will be realized. That is to say, as men and women from every nation bow their knees to Jesus in response to the kingdom mission of his disciples, the reign of the Davidic Son of Man is extended graciously among the nations until the day he returns in glory and great power (Matt. 28:18; Dan. 7:14; Ps. 2:8–9).
When we compare the nature and scope of these discipleship commands with the popular revisions of Christianity in our day, it becomes quite obvious whose voice people are actually now hearing. And it certainly is not the voice of Jesus! But if we listen carefully to the Gospel writers, Jesus’ clarion summons can still be heard, beckoning us to a discipleship that permits us no wiggle room for compromise.
It is at this point, then, that our third question raises its hoary head. Knowing our own inconsistency and fickleness of heart, how are we to do this?
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