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 (Manna 76: Commission)
Manna 76 Editorial: Commission
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by Derren Liang

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He entrusted two great commissions to His disciples: to preach the gospel, and to pastor His sheep. The Lord’s disciples took up the first commission and preached the gospel from Jerusalem, to Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). Why did these disciples have such a fervent heart, overcoming all difficulties in order to complete this commission? It was because they were effectively trained by Jesus. When He had first begun to preach the gospel, Jesus chose and called His disciples to follow Him. He later sent them forth to preach the gospel. Within the three years of His ministry, He also spent time with them so that they could witness His compassion—how He preached the heavenly gospel, revealed the authority of the heavenly kingdom, healed the sick, cast out demons, fed the hungry, and solved man’s problems. His resurrection and ascension gave man a living hope. The disciples saw, heard and touched the manifested Christ. They had a deep understanding and a vivid experience of the Lord Jesus (1 Jn 1:1–3). Preaching the gospel was proclaiming the Lord Jesus who had dwelled with them. The disciples each shared a deep love and a personal relationship with Him. Preaching the gospel not only fulfills Jesus’ command, but repays His love. If we preach with such a heart, then our deeds will be pleasing to the Lord.

Jesus asked Peter three times: “Do you love Me?” And three times, Jesus commanded Peter to nurture His sheep (Jn 21:15–17). To love the Lord is to be entrusted with the most important task of pastoring His sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, sacrificing His life for the sheep. When His love fills us, we can love those whom He loves. Jesus’ greatest love was revealed on Golgotha.

Paul says, “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God” (2 Cor 5:13a). By pondering over the salvation grace we have received, counting God’s blessings, praying unceasingly, and submitting to the Holy Spirit, we will be filled with the love of God, which enables us to make sacrifices for the sheep. This is how Paul could genuinely care for the believers, spending and being spent for them, watching and praying unceasingly for their spiritual lives.

Accomplishing these two great commissions goes beyond studying theology, or holding seminars on the duties of a disciple. What is more important is to establish a personal relationship with Jesus. For He said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (Jn 14:23a). If we do this, then we can fulfill Jesus’ commission. He also instructed, “[Teach] them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).If we, as disciples of Christ, establish a close and personal relationship with Him, and zealously strive to accomplish the commission which He has entrusted to us, He will continually sustain us in our service.

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Author: Derren Liang