chinese magi A Chinese Artists rendition of the “Adoration of the Magi”.

Epiphany is the extension of Christ’s kingship to the whole world. The revelation of Christ to the three kings at Bethlehem is a symbol of His revelation to the whole of the Gentile world. Epiphany presents to us the calling of not merely a chosen few, but all nations to Christianity. God who wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth wants all men to hear the message of salvation in Christ.  The work of bringing the Gospel to those who do not know Christ as King, Savior and Lord, is called “missions”.

Mission is rooted in the mystery of the triune God whose entire being is a communication and giving of Himself to the world.”   Missions is the word that speaks to the activities of churches and denominations in carrying out the Great Commission of Christ.  So says Detlev Schulz in his masterful book called “Mission from the Cross” published by Concordia Publishing House.    It is a great read and covers the whole waterfront of “Christianity’s ongoing search to define the missionary task”  (page 13).   Isn’t it interesting that we are, after 1985 years of the Great Commission, still seeing a need to redefine, reiterate or explain the missionary task!

The question that gets asked is who send missionaries?  God the Holy Spirit I believe, through some proclamation of the Word and a sign in the heavens of a star, sent the Wise Men to Jerusalem and their quest was proven by the prophetic writing of the Holy Scripture.  They asked the question, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” and Matthew in the 2nd chapter of his Gospel writes – 4Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'”…

Christ sends missionaries through the Great Commission.  The church sends missionaries.  Mission Societies send missionaries.  How does it all work together and does it make a difference?  It obviously makes a difference to some and that is what we will think about over the next few blogs.  If I feel the call to go and serve Christ in a foreign country and I simply go on my own am I a missionary?  What is the connection of the “church” to the sending of missionaries and why is it important?  What does the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod mean when it says that the Board for International Missions is the “only sending agency for funds and personnel to foreign fields”?  Why do some see this as a problem?