During His ministry on earth, Jesus gathered together a motley crew of twelve unlikely and mostly uneducated men to personally disciple. In those brief three years, they sat under Jesus’ teaching and witnessed great miracles. Prior to his death, he commissioned the remaining eleven disciples, saying:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all of the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
I’m not sure what went through the minds of the disciples with such a daunting and what could have been impossible task. They had travelled limited distances, probably only 20-30 miles from home, mostly with Jesus, and they were now told to go and spread the gospel to all nations after only three years of preparation. All without access to bible apps, planes, the internet and travel agents, things we take for granted in the modern world.
After being obedient to go and wait on the promised Holy Spirit, it was at Pentecost that the disciples (and other believers) were suddenly filled with power. In a moment, the fear and confusion left, and each of them experienced clarity and renewed boldness. In that one day alone, 3,000 people were baptised and added to the church (Acts 2:41). The gospel spread widely and rapidly through the obedience of the eleven disciples and the ever-increasing number of Christ’s followers. Even amid difficulty, persecution and imprisonment, God used their struggles to spread the gospel further. What may have been perceived as mission impossible was mission possible through the work of the Holy Spirit.
So, if Jesus commanded the disciples whom He had been mentoring and doing life with for only three years to go into all the world telling others about Him, surely we too can carry on the task. We have the entire scriptures at our fingertips, many of us have sat under sound biblical teaching for years (perhaps even decades). The same Holy Spirit is available to each one of us to empower us to spread the gospel throughout Ireland and around the world as we approach the fulfilment of the Great Commission given to those early disciples. When anxiety, fear and feelings of inadequateness surround us, we can trust Him and go forth in His strength and the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing He can use us and speak through us.
Father, thank You for the example and the mission You left us. Thank You that even today, You still continue to use the ordinary people of Ireland to further Your Kingdom. Father, I give over my fear, anxiousness and insecurity to You. I ask You through the power of Your Holy Spirit to refresh my vision for You. Give me increased boldness, and help me to remember that all things are possible for those who believe. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.