What was Jesus’ first action when He began His ministry? As I read this question, it gave me pause. Jesus is baptized, spends forty days in the wilderness, and then begins His ministry in Galilee. And just what is the first thing He does? Jesus calls His team. First, Peter and Andrew, followed by James and John. Ultimately, Jesus calls a total of twelve together to intimately share His life and His mission.
If I have a mission or goal to accomplish, do I recruit a team? Or, do I go solo?
My answer is the reason this question made me pause and consider.
After Jesus finished His mission on earth and ascended to heaven, He commanded His team to go. Go and make disciples of all nations. Teach them everything He had taught them. As Jesus’ team honored that command, the early church took root.
As the early church grows, Paul teaches that the church doesn’t consist of one member, but many. We’re all baptized in one body and, together, we make up the body of Christ. If one member suffers, all suffer together. If one member is honored, all rejoice together in it. Paul makes it clear that no member is more important than another. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
On our Walk to Emmaus we learn of the priesthood of all believers. That may sound confusing, but it’s important to our journey with Christ, so let’s recall exactly what that means. In its simplicity it means that all believers, laity and clergy, are called to be priests to one another—to serve as instruments of God’s grace in other people’s lives. To be the very body of Christ that Paul describes in his letter to the church at Corinth.
In God’s glorious plan of redemption, we have a high priest. God gave His Son, Jesus, who intercedes on our behalf. But as the body of Christ, Peter reminds that we are members of a royal priesthood. Chosen. God’s own people. 1 Peter 2:9-10
With each Walk to Emmaus weekend, we welcome new members into this priesthood of all believers. People just like you and me.
Did you question why you were going on the Walk?
Do you question whether you’re qualified to serve on the team?
God calls us to the Walk and He meets us there. In those seventy-two hours, He equips us. As the priesthood of all believers, He equips us to stand in the gap with Christ and bridge the separation between people and God where the grace of Christ needs to be made real.
Please don’t misunderstand. No one fills in for Christ. Christ alone is the bridge. He alone is the sacrificial lamb that restored us to right relationship with God, but God uses us as the earthly face, the human touch, the loving hug that may be the catalyst for someone to fully experience and finally understand the grace of God. That moment when God’s grace moves from a mere definition in the mind to a real connection in the heart.
Have you sat with and listened to a friend struggling through a tumultuous time in her marriage? Maybe you delivered a meal to a grieving widow and hugged her as she was overwhelmed with tears. Or called a friend on a whim only to learn that he was opening yet another beer to drown his sorrow?
In those moments, you were instruments. Instruments of God’s grace. As members of this priesthood of all believers, that’s simply what we are.
It’s how God uses us to put a human face on His loving grace.
So as God’s instruments, what is our mission?
• To make Christ real for people
• To be channels of God’s grace
• To proclaim the mighty acts of God
As we carry out our mission as the priesthood of all believers, let’s remember Jesus’ first act as He started His mission. He recruited His team.
Just as Jesus called his apostles to share His life and ministry, we too must share our mission. Our mission to make Christ real to others, to be channels of God’s grace, and to proclaim the mighty acts of God isn’t intended to be done alone. Just as Jesus used His team of apostles to start the early church, we can’t accomplish Christ’s mission for the priesthood of believers going solo. It takes teamwork.
Let’s join hands to fully work together to share the mission of the Walk to Emmaus. Let’s open our hearts to be fully used as God’s instrument of grace to the pilgrims, teams, and community.
Whether on a team or not, whether you sponsor a pilgrim or not, fully engage in the mission.
Be an instrument of God’s grace.