"...Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"*
This exchange between God and the Prophet Isaiah has always fascinated and intrigued me. Why would Isaiah volunteer to be sent knowing that he would suffer ridicule and perhaps be killed? While the Bible does not record exactly how Isaiah died, tradition holds that he was sawed in half during the reign of King Manasseh. Death notwithstanding, Isaiah's was willing to go.
For the record, who exactly is “us?” Jesus answered this question in Matthew 28:19 when he said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...” I submit this is the same "us" that created humankind in the first place! The same celestial "us" commands you and me to become "fishers of men" aka - disciple-makers. Truthfully, making disciples is hard work that requires a focused commitment to pointing others to the Way that leads to life eternal no matter how hard or thankless the mission may seem.
Jesus told His disciples that they, like Him, would suffer for the faith. In truth, ten of the twelve disciples were martyred - notable exceptions: Judas and John. Like a fire that burns out of control, the Good News message couldn't and wouldn't be stopped or no matter how many Christians were put to death. In fact, the greater the persecution of Christians became, the more intense the fire of God's Word grew until it spread all over of the known world. The early church had an amazing sense of urgency and commitment; they took the “go” command seriously and were willing to sacrifice their lives for what they believed.
As Christians in the 21st century we have many tools at our disposal to aid us in making disciples. During any given week most of us have an opportunity to share our faith with at least one person, but are we taking advantage of the opportunity? We have the internet, smart phones and a host of other means and methods to share our faith, but technology notwithstanding, the most powerful tool in our faith arsenal continues to be our personal testimony of what God has done for us. Remember, the early church lacked the internet, phones, etc., and yet the Gospel message spread far and wide. I tend the believe the power of the Holy Spirit enabled the first Christians to stand in the face of any and all obstacles - even certain death and succeed. I also believe He will do the same for us if we are willing to commitment ourselves to the Way.
The simple truth is the “go” command applies to us as much today as it did in the time of Isaiah and early Christians. While it is important to disciple each other, the world needs to hear our message of love and hope. Everyday people are perishing without having heard the Good News. May we prayerfully consider the "go" command and say with conviction, “Here am I. Send me!”
Amen and Amen
*Isaiah 6:8 New International Version
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