Jesus opens his farewell speech to his followers from a position of power. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)” “therefore…” (roll of drums in the background), “Go.” In Genesis the mandate for humanity was to be fruitful, multiply and care for the earth. But now the mandate is “go.”
I note that again the mandate is outward focused towards community. Faith is not just about my happiness or getting to heaven, it is also about how I interact with others. I also note that there is not a qualifying statement like “go to your friends” but a general “go.” As a sociologist, I cannot help but see the communal nature of life and God’s will. Love is not love if it sits silent in my heart but it always seeks a way to “go” towards the other. Help may be something I ponder but it only becomes reality as I reach out to another. All the valued characteristics that we pray are growing in our lives are interactional. The parable Jesus told was the Good Samaritan. A man is beaten up and left to die. Three men pass by on the other side of the road unwilling to help the person. But a foreigner comes along and shows mercy to the wounded.
We “go” at the directive of God. It is not because it feels good and we benefit but more because it is God’s will that we be his representatives, his hands and his feet, and his heart tangibly in our world today. Surprisingly, we will often feel better afterwards. Our modern orators would say, “It is the right thing to do.” Perhaps today you are needing something from God and so you have prayed. Often the answer will come in the form of someone caring about you.
Jesus continues in his farewell but his first instruction is action based on his authority. The “other” may not appreciate our reaching out but we reach out, not to be appreciated, but in response to how Christ reached out to us. Perhaps take a moment and think who might appreciate an unexpected act of love like a note, a phone call, a smile, a thank you. It’s not hard, “Go!” Blessings.