16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” Matthew 28:16-20, CEB
God’s story is a complex and multi-faceted one. We never get simple, clear-cut answers to questions and problems. There are often a variety of reasons for things. This is why, as I hinted at a few days ago, we can never simply say that God sent Jesus just to deal with sin. That’s part of it, of course, but it’s merely one part. Jesus also came to lead us, guide us, and demonstrate for us what life looks like when it’s lived in accordance with God’s purposes.
In this passage he encourages his disciples to stick with the mission that he set in motion. He tells them to continue making disciples. That’s not a simple request. It’s not something that happens just by dunking someone under water and making sure they can recite some beliefs and bible verses. Becoming a disciple means a lifetime of commitment to learning and growing in a community formed in God’s image. Big job. He trusts his disciples with that mission and, as far as we can tell, they did a pretty good job. And the job continues as we strive to reflect God in our communities today. And, in the midst of this, Jesus promises to be present in this mission.
God’s story isn’t over. There are still people called to reveal God to the rest of the world by virtue of living in accordance with God’s plans and purposes. These people thoroughly love both God and neighbor. We may be tempted and we may be confused with whatever the world throws at us, but, at the end of the day, we return to a community who reminds us who we are and what our purpose is. And that is to reflect God’s love in what seems to be a pretty loveless world.
If we have to be a part of a story, then that’s a pretty good one to join.