Last time I wrote about my reflection as I read the story of Christ meeting Mary Magdalene and the other Mary on their way from the tomb. Christ had come to meet them as they left the tomb—he didn’t send them on a hunt to find him and he didn’t first appear to a large group of people. He came personally and immediately to these faithful women.
The story continues on, though. He did not stay with them, celebrating. He sent them on. And, after seeing the empty tomb, and even more after seeing Jesus face-to-face, they were able to shout, “He is risen! We have seen Him!” They had the important job of telling those who knew Him where they could see Him. They all hurried to the mountain to see and hear their Messiah.
And there, on that mountain, He meets His disciples:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28: 16-20)
What is amazing to me in this verse is that He didn’t wait until they trusted Him again, and He didn’t wait until they all believed (for some still doubted), but He told them right there and then to go out and make disciples. I hear him saying, “Even in your doubt, fear, or imperfections, go, make disciples, bring people close to me, and live in the way I have shown you” (my paraphrase.)
Jesus doesn’t want me to wait until I have it all together to tell others about him. He wants me to go now, even with all the things that could hold me back, and tell people about Him. So, even on the days where I don’t feel qualified or prepared or trained to do mission work I am still called to go out, get coffee with one of the college women that I work with and share the ways Christ has worked in my life. And this call isn’t just limited to full-time missionaries like me. We are all called to step out of our comfort zone, take a deep breath, amidst the doubt or fear and make disciples—this could mean inviting a coworker to your church, buying a meal for a sick friend and showing them Christ’s love, or explaining to a family member why you are still celebrating Easter weeks after Easter Sunday.
And even in this challenge, this send-off, He gives us everything we could ever need: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
In this short verse, I hear him saying to me, “I am your protector and comforter, I will always be there guiding you, protecting you, and loving you. Do not fear, do not worry, and do not be anxious, for I am there at all times. Pray always and you will know that I am near“(my paraphrase.)