By John Larkins
We have progressed along The Way to the beginning of The Acts of the Apostles, about 33 A.D. Jesus Christ paid the price for human’s sin against God in Paradise. He has risen and delivered the stunning orders to His new Church. This event usually is called the Great Commission.
The stage is set by an earlier conversation. Matthew XVI: 17 -19 says, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you Simon Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.’”
Then, Matthew XXVIII:18-20 says, “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and low I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
In John 20:23, Jesus gives Peter and his successors the power to forgive sins (“Whose sins you remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.”
Thus, Jesus delegated His power and authority to Peter and the other Apostles to convert the entire world to His new Church, completing the mission God the Father had given Jesus Christ. This makes clear the objective of The Way. Of course, this includes each soul’s individual requirement to convert (be baptized) repent (confess sins committed), as distinct from the universal sin of Adam and Eve, which the Sacrament of Baptism washed away. Then, within the Church, a soul would live a holy life with periodic cleansing through the Sacrament of Penance.
Jesus said earlier that “If one did not eat my body and drink my blood, he had no life within him. Then Jesus said unto them, except you who eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you” (John 6:53.) This sacrament may only be obtained through Jesus Christ’s Way by an ordained priest.
The essential nature of Jesus Christ’s salvation is dynamic action – moving forward within a person acting in the sacraments of salvation, within The Way of space, time and specific actions that have sacred meaning in a sacred setting. Accompanied by fellow worshipers, we each
proceed along our journey, praising and loving Jesus Christ and striving to follow His guidance conveyed by His Church and repenting of sins we cannot overcome. This is The Way to the Kingdom of Heaven, as the Son leads us to the Father. He desires that we all succeed.
When Peter gave his first sermon (related in the Acts of the Apostles), only the Jerusalem Church existed, but by the end of the book (about 100 A.D.), subordinate Churches had been formed in Rome, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Ephesus and Laodicea by the grace of God! Peter and Paul completed The Way.
John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals, and church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.