Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Final Instructions

09 June 2024

Diagram of parts of a wooden birdhouse

In the last chapters of John and the beginning of Acts, we witness the culmination of Jesus' earthly ministry.  He had spent the last three years gathering his disciples, leading them, teaching them, and preparing them, all the while knowing that his time would soon come to an end.  The time between Jesus' resurrection and his ascending to heaven shows us Jesus' final instructions to his followers.


When Jesus tells his disciples, 'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,' he establishes a direct link between his mission and theirs.  Jesus was sent to the earth by his Father for a purpose.  He had a very specific mandate on his life, and Jesus passed that mantle on to the disciples.  Jesus didn’t come to the earth to become rich and famous.  He wasn’t sent just to be a good guy or live right so others would follow his example.  He came to seek and save the lost.  Jesus' mission was marked by teaching, healing, and sacrificial love, and now his disciples were being entrusted with this same mission.


As we continue reading chapter 21, we encounter a moment between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus asked Peter three times, 'Do you love me?'  Each time Peter responded yes and Jesus instructed him to 'feed my sheep.'  This repetition emphasises the importance of Peter's role in caring for Jesus' followers.  By repeating the question three times, Jesus not only reinstated Peter after his earlier denial but also stressed the paramount importance of caring for his flock.  It was crucial to Jesus that when the people that he was sending his disciples to reach came into the kingdom, they would grow and mature to become disciples themselves.


Jesus didn’t expect them to do it on their own, though.  Acts 1:8 highlights a promise: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.'  This divine empowerment was needed for the disciples' mission. The Holy Spirit was necessary to equip them with the strength, wisdom, and courage needed to be effective witnesses.  Jesus' final words were those of sending, but not just sending them out on their own or in their own strength.


From Jesus' instructions, we see he was passing on his mission to his disciples.  Their purpose was clear: to spread the gospel, nurture new believers, and exemplify Christ's love and compassion in their daily lives.  Jesus sent them to ‘be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’.  Starting in their circle and moving out, all the way to the whole world.  This divine mandate propelled them to reach out to the lost and guide them towards spiritual growth and maturity.


You may think this was a one-time event.  Jesus sent out his followers: job done.  But no, if we believe in him, we are his disciples.  As his disciples, we have been sent out to be witnesses, whether at work, school, in our neighbourhood, or on a mission trip around the world.


This week, look around you for opportunities to be a witness.  Who can you speak to in your circle?  How can you show God’s love to those you encounter?

Photo of Jenn MacKay

Jenn MacKay
GoChurch Bradford