Because Jesus Said So

Great Commission

On each of the next few Tuesdays, I’ll be sharing a guest post by my good friend Michael Marchand. They’re excerpted from his book, The E Word, which is a clear, concise, practical guide to the New Evangelization. Michael is now hosting live events and retreats based on the book. Find out more through his website.
God is not big on suggestions. When you’re the Creator of the Universe, you don’t give recommendations or advice. God gives commands — not for His sake, but for our good.

God did not command Adam and Eve to avoid that tree because of some divine love of rules, but because He was trying to protect them. When God commanded Abraham to pack up and move, it was for Abraham’s benefit. The Ten Commandments were not given because God desired restrictions. They were given because the people of God were lost and needed guidance.

EWordThe Apostles knew the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Moses. They knew that when God spoke, it was in their best interest to follow His commands.

And so, the book of Acts opens on the Apostles waiting. Why? Because Jesus told them to.

After Jesus rises from the dead, He spends 40 days hanging out with His Apostles, His friends. He spends 40 days “speaking about the kingdom of God” and the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:3,4), and on the last day He gives them this command:

“I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Jesus promises them “power from on high” (aka “the Holy Spirit”), but instructs them to stay and wait until they receive the Spirit.

So the Apostles wait.

To be fair, they did more than just wait around: they prayed. Gathered together in an upper room, the earliest leaders of the Church spent their time, day and night, in prayer. They were preparing for what God was going to do through them.

Then it happens.

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:2-4)

The story doesn’t end there. The Spirit filled each one of them for a very specific purpose. It was more than just an extraordinary gift. This gift came with another command.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Power? Yeah, I’ll take that.

Holy Spirit? Sure!

Witnesses to the ends of the earth? Sounds like a job for someone else, right?

Wrong. The gift and command Jesus gave to the Apostles, He gives to us. We have each been given the power of the Holy Spirit (even if a “strong driving wind” has never filled your house), and we have each been called – no, commanded – to be Christ’s witness “to the ends of the earth”.

Why do we evangelize? Because Jesus says so. Not just in Acts, but throughout the Gospels (Mt 28:18-20, Mk 16:15-18, Lk 24:46-49, Jn 20:21-23).

And when God speaks, it’s in our best interest to listen.
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Michael Marchand is the author of The E Word a fantastic resource on Catholic evangelization. The response to the book has been so positive, that Michael now also runs evangelization retreats based on it’s content at parishes and schools around the country. (Portions of this article were taken from The E Word.)

Michael is one the co-creators of ProjectYM, a Catholic Youth Ministry resource and popular collaborative blog. He’s also the guy behind, PopeTweets, and ReigniteUganda.
(Image credit: The Gospel Coalition)