Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us… 2 Cor. v, 20 NASB
The early church was gifted by Jesus with his select ambassadors whom He had schooled Himself during His earthly ministry. We refer to them as disciples when they are students under the physical tutelage of the Master and ambassadors when He gave them authority and sent them out to teach, to cast out demons, to heal all diseases, and to preach. As the Master’s first ambassadors they laid the foundations of the church. In Mat 9:37 the Master notes the need for workers in the harvest and asks them to pray for more workers. Subsequently they are commissioned themselves and in Mat. 10:2 the twelve apostles are set, named and sent after His specific apostolic instructions and prophecy. The ambassadors were to be totally dependent on God and the goodwill of the believers as they carried no funds. The role of the Holy Spirit in public speaking is described. The Master makes reference to the prophetic office of his ambassadors. The ministry will not be peaceful in terms of social or family relations. Friendship of the world is not the aim of the apostle. The multiple roles of healer, teacher, prophet, martyr, and beloved family member. The father-son relationship is often referenced in terms of the gospel students as ‘it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master.’ (Matt 10: 25). The Master schooled St. Paul in the various fellowships and in the desert solitudes. St. Paul called himself a servant as often as an apostle and ‘was not worthy to be called an apostle’. In Romans 12 he charges the assembly at Rome to not be worldly, but be ‘transformed by the renewal of your mind’ and to be sober and humble in the assessment of oneself. Near the close of the Roman epistle St Paul refers to his being ‘a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit’. St Paul’s ministry was by no means a peaceful ministry and he wanted the Jews to be jealous of God’s work among the Gentiles. He carried the ‘marks of Christ’ on his mortal body when jealousy lent itself to violence rather than spiritual inquiry.
The prophetic role falls to many ‘ordinary church members’ who give their lives as martyrs and God’s utterances before devilish courts and their soldiers. In the heavenly realms, surely they will win a prophet’s reward for they were God’s messengers. Bible teachers who claim the role of the prophet ended with the apostles have forgotten the martyrs and the current prisoners of Christ. Seemingly ordinary believer’s are His speakers to their own unbelieving families and magistrates. Prisoners are His messengers in the current age. The prisoners of Christ speak by the Holy Spirit to the world’s worst sinners. Prisoners of Christ speak as prophets and examples to the elect of God.
If the church has lost its prophetic voice it is trending lukewarm. The church has lost its saltiness.
Today the Roman Catholics celebrate the foster father of our Lord, Joseph the Worker. He was the guardian and protector of the Incarnation and the head of the Holy Family.
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men…
For ye see your calling brethren
How that not many wise men after the flesh
Not may mighty, not many noble
I Cor. 1:25-26
“Ye cannot serve God and mammon
And the Pharisees also who were covetous
Heard all these things and they derided him”
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”
Matt 6: 19-20
“For I say unto you that except your righteousness
Shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes
And Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter
Into the kingdom of heaven.”
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men
To be seen of them
Otherwise ye have no reward
Of your Father which is in heaven”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit
For theirs is the kingdom of God”
In our capitalistic society the rich own most of the land, income, and wealth -upwards of 80 percent. They only want more. Where do the followers of Jesus come down on the issues of justice and fairness in America? Good question. Paul confirms in his day ‘Not many mighty, wise, or noble are called to the kingdom of God’. The salt of the earth people fill the pews in American congregations. Most followers of Jesus are not masters, but servants. Many are called to the kingdom of God and are near the truth. The powerful are certainly attracted to the mercy of the Gospel yet they cannot get to the point of repentance and trust. Our culture allows glutton and mammon to rule our society. St. Peter and the Jerusalem leaders warn about the wearing of gold and the neglect of the poor as the gospel is carried to the Gentiles. The message of Jesus is a powerful political and social herald to the humble. When Jesus gave his first sermon in Nazareth he chose the 61st chapter of Isaiah,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek…”
The Feast of St Benedict is a good time to reflect on the care of the body and the union with Christ. Benedict escaped the village, the university, and Rome in order to be devoted to the inner life and union with the Lord. He accepted some food from the mountain villagers and slowly warmed up to the social life and his fellow man. This beloved of God had the benefit of an excellent education, but had much social pressure coming from a patrician Roman family. In the ravine he was the master of his social life. Benedict concentrated on the knowledge of the physical, the natural, and the bodily world as he matured as a Christian in the Italian ravine. He knew the limits of bodily life and the value of nourishment. He was akin to John the Baptist in that he too sought the wilderness and a bare subsistence as he turned his complete attention to the spiritual union with the Lord. Benedict had the Holy Spirit to guide him in his solitary life.
“God …who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit…Always confident knowing that whilst we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith not by sight. We are confident…willing rather to be absent form the body and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour that whether present or absent we may be accepted of him.”
2 Corinthians 5:5-9 KJV