Go Means Going
In the Book of Acts, “go” takes in many different forms. When Jesus gave his Great Commission to his disciples, he told them to be witnesses for him and to go even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7-8). In the life of Peter, this mandate meant a life of proclaiming an announcement. In his first sermon at Pentecost, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, he gave the people an announcement and explained to everyone what was meant by the promise of the Holy Spirit (2:14 and 2:32-33). He exhorted them (2:40). When confronted by the lame man, Peter uttered a declaration: “I have nothing except Jesus” (3:6). At Solomon’s Portico, he refers to the prophets and announced the old Abrahamic (or Mosaic) saying: “You shall be a blessing to the whole earth” (3:25, cf. Genesis 12:1-3). In Peter’s life, going meant a life of words, announcements, proclamations, and speaking to people about God’s words.
In the life of Philip, the Great Commission mandate means a life of moving from one place to another. God’s call primarily meant a direction, a life of “going south,” to places where people are different than what Philip is used to (Acts 8:26). On his way to following God’s command to go, he met Samaritans, a people whom the Israelites disliked, a weird power-hungry Simon, and a queer Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:4-40). At the end of the Philip narrative, the story continues with him still going to many different locations (8:40). In Philip’s life, going meant physically moving (or being relocated by God’s Spirit) from place to place.
In the life of Paul, the Great Commission meant a life of focus for a certain people: the Gentiles. God calls Paul to a life of work among the Gentile peoples (Acts 13:47; 22:21; and 26:17). In the beginning, he started work among the Jews scattered among the non-Jewish nations. But towards his second missionary journey, he shifted to a work directed solely for the Gentiles (18:6). He had his heart set for Rome and the far-away Spain, not because they are exotic places, but mainly because, at that time, they were populated by gentiles (Romans 15:22-24 and Acts 19:21). In Paul’s life, going meant a commitment to be where Gentiles are and to live a life that Gentiles can relate to.
Whichever form going takes, whether it involves an announcement of a blessing, a movement from one place to another, or a focus on a particular people and culture, it still portrays a life of witness to God’s salvation in Jesus. Whether going meant tangible words, physical movement, or deep commitments and focused attention, it still involves a living encounter with our Almighty God. Both the missioner and the listener must respond in obedience. Going means a life of submission to the Lord of the universe and Lord of this earth.
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.