“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” (John 1:43)
Epiphany is a short, but important season. The word epiphany means “revelation.” In Church, we read passages of the Bible that reveal Who Jesus is. We learn that He loves us, has compassion on the sick, the poor and the outcast. We hear that He is the Lamb of God, Who carries away the sins of the world.
In the season of Epiphany, we also focus on missions. We learn that the mission of the Church is not our idea. Mission begins with God. Because God loves us, when we fell into sin, He decided to do something about it. He sent Jesus to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus then said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)
To this mission, God called Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets to do His will. Like them, Jesus found His disciples and called them. Jesus called the disciples to seek and save the lost. In fact, if you look through the Bible, you won’t find a time when someone sought God out first. Today the Holy Spirit called us to seek the lost, too.
Sometimes we make missions more complex than it is. Often people think missions mean that you have to cross an ocean. But we don’t. The lost are all around us. Many Americans have never been to church or Sunday school. At your school, there are students from all nations, religions or no religion at all.
To seek them out, you do not have to be expert at witnessing. Because Jesus saved you, you are a witness to His love and mercy. You see, you are not called to win souls or save anyone. Jesus went to the cross to do that. His death paid for all our sins, including our lack of courage to speak out for Him. Through pastors, teachers, relatives, parents and friends, His Holy Spirit brought us God’s Word and to Holy Baptism. There the Spirit called us by the Gospel, enlightening us with His gifts and sanctified us and kept us in the true faith. Jesus now invites us to join His mission. He calls us to tell them about His love and to show them His love when we make them our friends, pray for them, help them when they need it and stand by their side. When we do this, we are His voice and His hands to reach our neighbors.
So it is that we are His witnesses until our place in that mission is over. Then Jesus will bring us to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, where there is no longer a need for missions, because the mission will be accomplished.