THE WORLD NEEDS JESUS NOW 

BY: CASLEY ESSEMUAH

If ever the world needed Jesus, it is now! We can neither govern ourselves or care for our neighbor. Our systems that have stood the test of time seem to crumble under the weight of sin. What we thought was utterly dependable is no longer reliable. Our philosophies that discounted evil have no answer for these developments. It is to God’s Word we turn to for illumination and guidance. If the world ever needed Jesus, it is now! And the good news is that Jesus is not only for our personal salvation but also to reign in our society as a whole. One of my favorite Christmas passages is from Isaiah’s prophecy that says “the government shall be upon his shoulder” (9:6c). Why such popularity? Each of the verses captures a heart-penetrating aspect of the gospel from the miracle of the incarnation, to God’s redemptive grace. The last line of each verse is sung twice for emphasis which further brings the message home. And undoubtedly, part of the popularity lies in the melody. Sung in a style of a lullaby, the melody brings calmness and comfort when sung, not unlike when a mother sings softly to comfort a baby to sleep.

COVID AND MISSIONS
All of our world has been upended by COVID. I know of no one who wanted to stay in 2020. All of us suffered massive disruptions in our lives, and some of us even paid the ultimate price of losing loved ones. This pandemic reminds us all of our common humanity, and that a minuscule virus that cannot be detected by the human eye can still wreak havoc everywhere in the world. It respected no boundaries of race, color, wealth or access to health facilities. In 2020, the world also started to awaken to the racial fault lines that have undergirded public engagement and discourse for a long time.

For those who are discerning, COVID offered a timely opportunity to engage on spiritual issues – what is our life? Is there life beyond the grave and why does that matter? Questions like these find answers in the Bible. Many of us whose mental health equilibrium was disturbed by stay-at-home restrictions soon discovered that a walk with Jesus is the ultimate anti-depressant. For some of us, the pandemic offered a new opportunity to serve others.

It is still during this season of a global pandemic and uncertainty that the words of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel continue to ring in our ears: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (28:18-20)

All authority, All nations, Everything and Always.

The God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that none may perish, and that all may have eternal life, invites us as we go on mission with Him. Our audience is clear – all nations. In other words, everyone who lives and breathes on this planet is an object of a heavenly father’s love.

And when we go, our subject matter for conversation and dialogue is everything that God has revealed in the Scriptures – how we have learned of God through the Bible, and how our own lives have been transformed by the God of the Bible. Our personal testimony is our witness. Our stories carry much weight as we make God’s Word come alive for others. That is why the discipleship method of A Chapter a Day For The Rest of Your Life is such a significant key to Christian growth and formation – leading us as we read to be more Christ-like each year.

When are we to do so? Is the age of missions not over? The answer here is very clear – NO, we go until Jesus returns, “to the very end of the age.”

How do we even begin to think of global travel during a time of pandemic? What may be ordinarily scary for some people is now almost impossible. And that is an undeniable fact that we have to live with. May I humbly suggest the following as we look to the Lord and His heart for the nations during this global pandemic.

First, let us take every opportunity to LEARN as much about the world as we can. How are our brothers and sisters in India, South Sudan, Ghana and Uganda coping with COVID? What are the ways that they are bearing witness to the transforming power of the gospel under COVID restrictions? That knowledge can then lead, secondly, to informed PRAYER. Praying always prepares our hearts for the next level, which is, thirdly, INITIATED ENGAGEMENT. Reach out and connect with someone in another part of the world and see how the Lord would use that outreach to enrich others and ourselves. Fourth, ask God how you can FINANCIALLY SUPPORT global missions. No matter how difficult our circumstances have been, many in our world live on less than we spend on a cup of a coffee a day, and our financial support can go a long way in alleviating suffering around the world. The fifth, and granted that this may not be for everyone this season, but for some, there will be the possibility to GO. Yes, COVID protocols will be stringently observed, and extra care will be taken, but there are places in the world where we can go and serve alongside others. Is the Lord calling you to go, especially this season?

Impossible it may sound to you, but may I remind you of the first ALL – all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Do you believe that – really – and does that motivate you to learn, pray, reach out, support and, if so led, GO?

If you are wondering about all of this – how do I engage globally in the midst of this changing world we live in? – then you won’t want to miss the SOULS World Missions Conference on March 6. Keynote speaker Ed Stetzer will inspire, challenge and equip us to reach a volatile world with the good news of Jesus. Join us in person or, new this year, tune in online for a day of worship, teaching and prayer.

Casely Essamuah, serves as Secretary, Global Christian Forum, and from 2005- 2018, served as Global Missions Pastor of Bay Area Community Church.