When seen in the light of the Biblical meta-narrative, Jesus’ call for the eleven to “go and make disciples” was a call to “be fruitful and multiply.” Baptizing disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is immersing believers into the image and likeness of God. It is bringing people through the symbolic waters of God’s womb in order to give birth to a new creation. The call is not merely to build a church but to extend God’s Kingdom.
Apostles are passionate about God’s Kingdom. They are called to restore what has been lost. Their vision is grand, extending beyond their four walls. They are fathers like Adam, Abraham and Israel. They have nations in them even though their company of disciples may be small.
This is why apostles plant churches and are jealous for God’s people. Individual believers without fellowship cannot bear the image of God. God’s image is in community and we only reflect that in fellowship with one another. Apostles long to see apostolic communities throughout the earth––communities that look beyond themselves in order to be a blessing. These communities are called to “rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Isa. 61:4).
These communities are meant to be the true cities and nations on the earth, though they may not be recognised by the ruling powers. They help, serve and protect one another. They administer justice and bring salvation. They import grace and export life. They honour one another. They are the opposite of Babylon whose origins are seen in Genesis 11. Babylon was found so that men may make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth. Conversely, God’s city is established on earth to exalt the name of Jesus (Yahweh saves) and spread the Kingdom of God to every corner of the world. Every community is merely a base to export God’s glory on earth. It helps and supports those who sacrifice their lives, losing their name to make his name known. The very foundation of this city is Jesus with his apostles and prophets––characterised by sacrifice and worship.
Prayer: Father, give me an apostolic heart and may the apostles’ pure jealousy be my own, in Jesus’ name.