I haven’t often left town without my family since we have had children. I am grateful that my husband is more than willing and capable of taking care of everything while I am gone. A few days before I leave, as things pop into my head that need to be done while I am gone, I rattle them off out loud to him. Every time, I get the same response: “Make me a list.” I think of more things that need to be done and say to him, “Oh, by the way, please make sure you do…” and hear: “Make me a list.” I leave a list and it will be there with all of the items checked off when I return, comforted that things were handled while I was gone.
Maybe you are wondering what happened after the first Easter. There was a 40-day period in which Jesus appeared to others before He ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
He accomplished some very specific things in that time because God had a specific plan for Jesus. If Jesus had said, “I’ll do your will, but make me a list,” I think it would have looked like this:
To Do List Before I Ascend to Heaven:
- Visit two disciples on the road to Emmaus
- Visit Thomas in the company of the disciples and show him nail marks
- Meet privately with Peter, redeem him, and instruct him to “feed my sheep”
- Talk about the kingdom of God, including other duties as assigned by the Father
- Give the Great Commission
The books of Matthew and Mark both close with the Great Commission as the last instruction Jesus gave before ascending to heaven, which to me says that this job is important.
Matthew 28:18-20: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Easton’s Bible Dictionary gives this definition:
Disciple: A scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist, and of the Pharisees, but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who:
- Believes His doctrine
- Rests on His sacrifice
- Imbibes His Spirit
- Imitates His example
Do you meet the criteria of this list? Are you worried you don’t have what it takes? The disciples didn’t start out as scholars. Jesus chose fishermen and a tax collector as some of His followers. But they had one thing in common on their “resume,” as do all of us:
Romans 3:23-24 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
He isn’t looking for those who are a perfect fit, He is looking for those who are perfectly willing. It is easy, after the events of a busy Easter Sunday, to get up and go back to work and school tired but refreshed, and put away our decorations. I think the day after Easter is the day we need to get up and realize that our work of sharing the importance of knowing our Savior, the only way to eternal life with Him, is just beginning. Jesus left us with examples of what was, what is, and what is yet to come.
I imagine that if we had encountered Jesus in person during those 40 days, and He was giving us instructions before He left, we too might say, “Make us a list.” And His response would be: “I already did.”
I’d love to hear from you! Please tell me in the comments below one thing on your “To Do” list before you go to heaven.
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