Last Thursday (29 May) was ‘Ascension Day’ and this coming Sunday (8 June) is ‘Pentecost Sunday’ – two very significant days in our church calendar commemorating two landmark events in redemptive history. In his farewell discourse Jesus told his disciples that he would be “going away” (ascension) and that he would thereafter send the Holy Spirit to them. This he did as promised on the ‘Day of Pentecost’.
During his earthly ministry Jesus again and again called people to follow him in a life of discipleship. The invitation word he repeatedly used was “Come!” Perhaps the most well-known of his invitations is found in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Since his ascension Jesus has continued to invite sinners to come to him. He does so by the Holy Spirit through his church as we faithfully proclaim his gospel. Over the past few days while on holiday at the coast I have been mulling over the final invitation in the Bible: Revelation 22:17
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Since our Lord’s ascension to heaven who is it that extends the invitation to come to Jesus? It is the Spirit and the bride. The bride, of course, is the church of Jesus Christ. The Spirit extends Jesus’ invitation through Jesus’ bride as she offers “the free gift of the water of life”—salvation and satisfaction through the finished work of Jesus. Those who come in response to this invitation (those who ‘hear’) in turn become part of the bride of Christ; and they in turn say, ‘Come!’ to others.
This essentially is what missions is about. It is those who have come and taken “the free gift of the water of life” calling others to “Come!” As members of Jesus’ bride we call others to “Come!” but it is the Holy Spirit who makes that call effective. It is he who makes them feel their thirst and come.
Our missionaries serving all over the world are inviting people to come. Remember to pray for our missionaries as they invite people to “Come!”
Here in South Africa, where we live, work and play, our privilege as the bride of Christ together with the Holy Spirit is to say “Come!” Our lives should say, “Come!” Our church should say, “Come!” You and I should say, “Come!”
When last did you speak to someone about Jesus and invite them to “Come!”?