April 09, 2006

Heartbeat of the Great Commission

Matthew 21:1-9; Galatians 2:9-10

All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor ... Galatians 2:10


As we celebrate Palm Sunday today, let's be sure to remember that our King, Jesus, calls his church to spread his good news everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). And the good news is that we can all be saved from our spiritual poverty and oppression in sin.

In our reading from Galatians, the apostle Paul recalls that when he was commissioned, the church leaders saw he had a gifting to bring the good news to the Gentiles. So he and Barnabas were sent off to do that. But before they left, they were asked to remember one thing.

Now, what would you have told those missionaries? Would it be "Make sure you keep to sound doctrine"? That's important, but it's not the thing they were asked to remember. Instead the leaders said, "Remember the poor." Of all the things they could have said, the main thing was to remember people in need. These leaders had learned this from Jesus, who rode into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey to show that his kingdom comes through compassion and justice for all. He humbled himself and became poor for our sake to free us from the poverty and slavery of sin (see 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:8).

At the heart of the Great Commission pulsates a command to help the helpless and hurting. If the church fails to do that, it misses the point. Our King aligned himself with the poor and oppressed--and so should we.

O King, may your church be eager to accomplish its mission, expanding your kingdom by coming to the aid of your brothers and sisters in need. In your name, Amen.

About the author — H. David Schuringa

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