The Great Commission of Jesus ChristQUESTION: The Great Commission of Jesus Christ - Where is my Jerusalem?ANSWER:
When considering the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and how it applies to our lives today, we should ask, "Where is my Jerusalem?" There are multiple records in Scripture of the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ to His followers (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). In two of these accounts (those in Luke and Acts). it is specifically noted that the carrying out of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ is to begin in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the place Jesus instructed His followers to wait for His timing. "On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.'" (Acts 1:4).
This was also the place they were to begin their ministry of telling others about Him, teaching the good news of salvation in Christ, baptizing, and discipling those new believers in the teachings of Christ, including the Great Commission. They were to start obeying the command from the place where they were when they received it.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
In the same way, we are to start obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ from where we are when we receive it.
In addition to being the place where they were located at the time the command was received, Jerusalem was the traditional center of worship in that time. "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, 'This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things'" (Luke 24:45-48).
Today, Jesus Christ uses the local church as an instrument of instruction, as one way of teaching us how to understand and obey the Scriptures. In this way, it could be said that the church is where we start, because in a Bible-teaching church we receive instruction, enabling us to go out from there in obedience to the Great Commission. It plays a part in our Jerusalem, both in location and in instruction.
For many of the people who first received this command, Jerusalem was likely the place where they lived. Some were called to that place by the command of Christ to wait there. Regardless of why they were there, the bottom line is that they were there.
Being a witness in Jerusalem applies to us today as being a witness to those who live near the place where we are, as well as to those in our sphere of influence. Because of the ease of travel and communication that we enjoy in our time, our "Jerusalem" may encompass a much larger geographical area. We generally do not have to walk to neighboring towns or depend on wind - or manually-powered boats to take us to our destinations, nor do most of us depend on camels or other animals to carry us where we would go as was true in Jesus' day. However, our Jerusalem still centers around the location and contacts of our daily lives.
So, "Where is my Jerusalem?" We are to be witnesses to those who live next door, down the street, or across town. Our lives and our words should be a testimony to those with whom we come in contact, from family members and business associates to the clerk at the grocery store or the aerobics instructor. People all around us need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, and we must open our eyes and our hearts to see where God is working. Wherever our daily lives take us or the leading of God directs us in and near the routine of our lives -- that is our Jerusalem.