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“Mission” is not in the Bible!

22 Feb

Previous: Justice – temporary or definite?

The term “mission” cannot be found in the Bible even once, thus it is in place to ask ourselves: “Why is it that we so much focus on mission today?” I would suggest that although we lack the exact term, the idea or the concept of mission stretches across the entire Scriptures. Moreover I would add that mission objectives were always inclusive, not exclusive. In other words they always included all the people and not only Israel nation, even though Israel nation was the chosen nation in the focus of the Old Testament.

To be on the same page, I will again use the definition offered by Merriam Webster’s dictionary about mission: “a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work”

Mission in the Old Testament

After the flood we can find genealogies of all three brothers Japheth, Ham and Shem listed in Genesis 10. Even though the major enemies of Israel – Canaanites, Egyptians, Hittites or Philistines came out of Ham’s lineage, they yet appear here equally, for they were also included in God’s plan of salvation. In Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV), God said to Moses:

“…Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing.I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Later Jeremiah is appointed to be a prophet over nations (Jer. 1:5-9) and Isaiah also prophesied over people of all nations (66:18-24). Furthermore Psalms refer to extent of God’s grace through worship (Ps. 67:1–2; 72:8, 17) and Solomon’s prayer includes seeking foreigners.

Mission in the New Testament

While Jesus’ ministry was mostly oriented on the Jews, he also ministered to others like Roman centurion (Mt. 8:5-13) or Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4). Yet His words to disciples are clear and unambiguous in all four Gospels and Acts, in which the entire world and people of all nations are included (Matt. 28:19–20; Mark 16:15–16; Luke 24:46–49; John 20:21–22; Acts 1:8). Secondly also Apostle Paul received a calling from God in a unique way with the same objective (Acts 26:16-18).

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Mission, Theology

 

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