By John Larkins
Having spent more than 1,000 hours airborne during my U.S. Air Force career, I have recollections of training for the possibility that I might be jumping out of a reasonable comfortable (in the short run) aircraft. But that’s the rub; it’s in the short run. Once an aircraft begins erratic behavior it is generally too late to safely jump out, lest the plane roll into the jumper.
I’ve been thinking lately about Jesus Christ’s divine mission to save men’s souls. Somehow in my slumber, this became a dream-like scenario of parachuting to safety. Jesus certainly did not hide the reality and certainty that His mission was to convert the Israelites to a new and everlasting way of salvation. The tradition of the Old Testament was that God would send them a Redeemer. If they were already saved to everlasting salvation, why did they need to be redeemed?
Secondly, you can bet that the temple priests, having very privileged lifelong careers administering the current theology system of worship and sacrifice, did nothing to encourage anticipating a new covenant, which might require the recruitment and training of new priests. They were Jesus’s most vehement enemies from the very start.
When Jesus came of age and the world was ripe for His mission to be activated, He interacted with His cousin, John the Baptist, acknowledging John’s baptisms and teachings about “The one cometh after me, who is more worthy than me and will baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” The immensely powerful events during Jesus’s baptism, symbolized by the dove and the voice from heaven saying, “Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” led to Jesus’s en-during the 40 days in the wilderness. John soon was imprisoned and murdered. Mark 1: 14-15 says, “Now after that John was put into prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of god is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel.’”
In that gospel, a new sacrament called baptism is established and circumcision is replaced as the sign of submission. The conversion to The Way has started. Jesus soon begins recruiting the necessary priests/apostles for His new religion. He has stated, “You cannot put new wine in an old wineskin” and soon teaches in the synagogue at Capernaum: “They were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” Later, they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority, He commands even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.”
Like an aviator preparing to take the leap of faith (faith that it really is paramount to leave an aircraft to step into thin air, that his rip cord will pull out his parachute, that it is packed properly so it will deploy and that there will be a safe journey to an inviting place on the ground),the Jews were being asked to convert to the Kingdom of God, Christ’s new Church. Matthew 28: 18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth, go 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 I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
These were His instructions to His one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church. Following our part would be well advised. How many of us will make the leap of faith and bail out before the plane crashes?
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.