Jesus’ disciples had spent 3 years with Him– observing his teaching, witnessing his miracles, and learning from his life. I wonder if after all that transpired with his resurrection and appearance among them, when he finally left them, if they found themselves saying, “I wish I’d paid closer attention.”
“Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” ~~ Matthew 28:16-20, the Message
I continue to be fascinated by the actions of Jesus’ disciples following his death, burial, and resurrection. I think their response was a pivotal point that set the course for the growth of the church as God envisioned it.
Have you ever worked alongside someone, in a vision-casting experience, a time of starting a new ministry, or transitioning an established structure into a more relevant purpose? I have. Several years ago, I and other women with a heart and passion for bringing women together in missions and ministry, were led by a woman who had been given a deep desire and vision which inspired all of us to come together for this purpose. Monica Keathley left quite a legacy that can’t even be covered in one day’s worth of reading, so just to touch on what I learned from her example is my focus today. Sadly, Monica passed away last year, after spending the last few years of her life paralyzed physically, but not mentally! She continued to impact people’s lives even in her suffering.
I believe Monica was inspired and gifted by God to leave a mark on the places where He had anointed her to lead. I soaked up so much from her example. She was a woman who devoted her life to sharing the message of Christ, who inspired others to catch God’s vision, and to act on it. She never abandoned the call God placed on her life. As someone who worked closely with Monica and others in this work, I too, caught the vision and what an exciting, fulfilling time we experienced as our women joined together to carry out this dream! What an amazing time and gift God gave, to be given this opportunity, to be entrusted with this vision. Yet I have been impressed for various reasons, that this legacy, this vision has been clouded, perhaps even lost or forgotten. That maybe even, for various reasons — discouragement, disobedience, doubt, disappointment — an essential part of the work has been left undone.
Jesus had set a reunion point to meet with his disciples on a mountain. A place where He would give them his last spoken words. Yet when He appeared to them, some of them doubted — still not sure about what He was really about I think. His earthly life was coming to an end, and his disciples are left to ponder his teaching, his example, his instructions. He charged his disciples to carry on the work with very specific directions.
Jesus’ followers acted on His charge — and changed the world. They didn’t let the obstacles they encountered keep them from continuing to do the work Jesus had called them to do. Monica’s heart was so much like Jesus’, I can almost hear her saying the same thing: “Go. Train. Baptize. Teach.” And I am inspired once again to act on the same charge — to carry on with the business Jesus (and Monica) left for us to do — changing the world:)