Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spread the Word

Matthew 28:16-20 - 16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

There are some late first century or early second century Christian relics that were recently discovered in archaeological digs in Northern Europe. I wondered how Christian relics got to Northern Europe around the same time that Christianity spread to Turkey. There is no record of any of the Apostles going that far North and there was not much trade from the Mediterranean area. I doubt that there is proof yet, but I wonder if it was from Roman soldiers.

Maybe one Centurion finished his tour in Jerusalem and was transferred to Germany. Maybe another was transferred to England. What if the first told his men: "I was guarding the governor while he interrogated a Jewish rebel and I was amazed. The rebel refused to answer a single question! He never insisted on his innocence or plead for mercy. Nothing! My men whipped him and turned him over to others to carry out his sentence. Three days later I heard that his followers said he was alive and was the Son of God and I believe them.

Maybe the other told his men: "My men and I were watching a Jewish rebel dying on the cross and he said "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." The sky turned black as night and the big curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom like someone getting out. When the rebel died I said "Surely this man is the Son of God."

What if the men responsible for whipping and crucifying Jesus were the same ones who spread the good news to Northern Europe? If they did they certainly did not know the full story of what Jesus did in Galilee or what he said when teaching in the temple. But they told the story they knew.

Disciples are made by people like you and me who take time to tell someone the story they know. Don't wait until you understand all scripture. Don't wait until you have a great message memorized. Be ready to tell someone the story you know of why you go to church and what God has done in your life.

Lord God I thank you that we only have to tell the story we know and let you take it from there. Help us find people who need to hear the story. Amen.