Scot McKnight is Professor of New Testament studies at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, author or editor of 50 books and well-known speaker and blogger. During New Horizon 2016, he is leading the morning Bible Teaching (10am Monday – Friday). Here, the NH Media Team brings you a summary of what he had to say on Friday 12 August.
Reading from Acts 1: 7 – 8
The Kingdom Mission is the challenge that Jesus gives His disciples. What did they think they were supposed to do? They had seen Jesus operate.
There are five themes: you have to have a king (Jesus), you have to have a rule (He rules by governing and redeeming – Lord and Saviour), you have to have people (the church), you have to have a law (love, righteousness and sacrifice) and finally there must be a land or sacred space in which these people live. In the New Testament this “land” promise expands. For Paul, the centre of the world remained Jerusalem but the promise becomes expanded as the church goes out and preaches the Gospel.
Today we want to look at this mission in the world that Jesus gives to His followers. The original principal of Jesus for mission is explained in Matthew 4: 23 and in Matthew 9:25. Mathew tells us that Jesus’ ministry involves teaching, preaching and healing.
In the ancient world, it was common to begin a section of a book and end a section with the same phrase. In Matthew chapters 5 – 9 we have two major sections. Chapters 5 – 7 include the collection of the teaching and preaching of Jesus (the Sermon on the mount) and chapters 8 – 9 is a collection of 10 miracle / healing stories form Jesus.
Here is what Matthew is doing. I’m going to tell you what I’m going to tell you. Then I’m going to tell you. Then when I’m done, I’m going to tell you what I told you. This was a presentation of the ministry of Jesus. In Matthew 10:1 we have this.
The mission of the kingdom of Jesus is to extend His mission. The only thing we have to do as Christians is to present Jesus in our world, our context and our language. There is no mission until you understand the mission of Jesus. Each of us is called to take the mission of Jesus and make it relevant and to speak it into our own communities, families and neighbourhoods.
John Stott said, “Too many people settle for too little. Go wherever the maximum number of your gifts can be exploited.”
God called me to use my gift as a teacher and I love to teach. I like to get up in the morning. I get to read and write and to teach. I get to make students think about things that they might not want to think about.
Some of you are sitting in situations where you know that some of the most important gifts God has given you cannot be used. Find that place where your gifts can be exploited!
We are asking the questions: When Jesus said, “Be witnesses” – what does He mean?
To teach what Jesus taught
Proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near – Mathew 10:7
The long-awaited promises have come to pass. We have to absorb the teachings of Jesus so deeply that we can accommodate them and adapt them to our own context. Jesus teaches about the kingdom and Paul, Peter, John and James rarely do. I learned from this that each of us, as we carry out the mission of God, learns to take the vision of Jesus and adapt it to our environment in language, in message, in context and in relevance.
Good pastors, good missionaries, good Christians know how to speak the Gospel in their world in their way. This is the message of the Bible. The Bible is a continual adaptation to different people in different times but we are biblically anchored because we soak ourselves in the scriptures but we shape the message to our context. We adapt the message so people hear it and don’t misunderstand it.
Do you know what we have got to offer the world? Jesus. Nothing else!
We were talking about Jesus and after class one student started following me. She came into my office and said, “I am so pissed. I grew up in the church and I never heard about Jesus. All we talked about was Romans and I love Jesus and I want to give my life to Him, how will I do it?” It is our responsibility in churches to make sure that every week, every person who comes into contact with us, hears about Jesus.
We have to do what Jesus did
Matthew 10:8 If you look at those expressions, every one of them is illustrated at least once in Matthew chapters 8 and 9. Our responsibility is to extend and expand the ministry of Jesus. People can imitate Him but that is not our calling. We are called to respond to people in the way He would respond to them. Our responsibility is to discern how we can offer life to people in whatever circumstance they are.
People like Jesus. Let us get out of the way, so they hear Him and see Him and encounter Him!
We have to trust as Jesus trusted
We don’t often talk about the faith of Jesus. We need to see how He trusts His father. Matthew 10:9 – 14
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had already taught these principles. “Do not worry” – look at the birds and flowers because in the birds and flowers you will see the protection and provision of God.
Jesus calls us to mission and He calls us to trust Him in that mission. We are called to obey the mission and to launch out into that mission and God will provide.
In Acts 1:8 when Jesus sends His disciples out as witnesses, they had seen Jesus doing it well. And they had experienced it when they went out in Mathew 10 and Luke 10. What did they do? The taught what Jesus taught, they did what Jesus did and they trusted as Jesus trusted.