Readings: Philippians 4:1-9, Matthew 22:1-15
Jesus Christ came for all.
In fact, he continues to search and seek out all.
That is the mission into which the church is born, and into which each of us are baptized. Just a few chapters later in Matthew, Jesus will say these words, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (28:19)
In other words, we are charged with being Christ’s relators in the world. We are baptized into the mission of God, which is forming relationship with those around us. It is forming relationship with those for whom Christ came: the sinners and the tax collectors, the good and the bad. And for being in relationship with Christ himself.
The thing is, we find Christ—to be in relationship with him—in the midst of our neighbors. Not just our pewmates or our geographical neighbors, but all people. And we can’t be in relationship with all people by keeping to ourselves.
We know Jesus more when we find him in others. We learn more about Jesus when we find him in someone we didn’t yet know.
We know that it is Christ who seeks us first. It is Christ who clothes you with himself. Not because of what you have done, but because of who he is and how he loves you. Our response to continually seek and grow in our knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ by knowing and loving our neighbors, by being disciples and discipling others, is only out of what Christ has first done for us. But our response is needed. More and more in this world is Christ and his peace needed.
So as Paul encourages in his letter from prison,
“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Even Jesus’ charge to go into all nations, baptizing and teaching them, comes with this most trustworthy and wonderful promise.
“And remember, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is most certainly true.