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January 12, 2016

Take Heart | Take On The World

By Jorge Mendoza

 

Matthew not only gave us a reliable testimony to the life and message of Jesus he also gave us a literary work of art. The more you examine it the beauty you unearth. For example, if you step back and look at the Gospel of Matthew as a whole you would notice that he concludes his account with a theme that was present at the beginning, a promise of the divine presence. These two promises are twin pillars to encourage our hearts in life and mission.

In Matthew 1.21 the angel announces the birth of Christ:

“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE AND BEAR A SON,
AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL.”
(WHICH MEANS, GOD WITH US).

In Matthew 28.20 the resurrected Christ says to his disciples:

“…BEHOLD, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE END OF THE AGE.”

These promises are similar in essence but distinct in purpose. They both present the same ineffable reality that the divine presence is with us but they are meant to produce two different but complementary results. The context of each promise helps us to grasp the distinction.

In chapter 1 the promise of the presence appears in the context of Christ coming into the world as the angel announces the birth of Christ. He is coming to redeem us. In chapter 28 the promise of the presence is in the context of Christ departing from the world. He has conquered death and is now at the point of his ascension to reign. In chapter 1 God desires to do something for us – forgives our sins (v. 21). In chapter 28 God desires to do something through us – make disciples of the nations (v. 19).

Like pushing on the two pedals of a bicycle keeps us stable and moving forward; believing these two promises does the same for our hearts and lives. The first promise stabilizes our heart in a secure relationship with the Father, “God is with us.” The second promise keeps us moving forward in mission by assuring us that we will have his help in the task, “Go…I will be with you!”

The first promise is there to comfort us, the second is there to compel us. The first promise invites us in, the second pushes us out. The first promise shows love to us, the second shows love to others. The first promise assures forgiveness for us, the second announces forgiveness for others. The first promise welcomes us to know his glorious person, the second strengthens to fulfill his global purpose. The first promise encourages us to take heart, the second promise encourages us to take on the world!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jorge Mendoza

Jorge Mendoza (@jmendozza) is a Teaching Pastor at BluePrint Church and a Church Planting Catalyst with NAMB in the Urban Initiatives Group. He's been engaged in pastoral ministry since 2000 pastoring established churches and church planting. He is the son of immigrant parents from Mexico, and was raised in a blended family, while socialized in the hip-hop sub-culture. He is married to Wendy, and they have four children, Hannah, Emily, Noelle and Selah.

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