The glorious "and"
So, Jesus has risen from the dead. He has appeared to his disciples. They have broken bread. He has given his disciples many convincing proofs, speaking to them about the kingdom. Then right before Jesus ascends into heaven (literally), he says to His disciples,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV). Then, right before their eyes, He ascends into heaven.
After the shock wears off, the disciples might have thought, “that’s a lot of ands.” Couldn’t Jesus just as easily have said we’re to be His witnesses in Jerusalem or Judea or Samaria or the end of the earth? Why is the word “and” so important?
The word “and” reminds us that Jesus is worthy of worship from all peoples. Jesus prompts us that every language, people and culture is valued by Him and needs to be treasured by us.
The word “and” reminds us the work of the church (that’s us) is not complete until Jesus is globally worshipped. We have a mission to see Jesus exalted among every tribe, language, and nation.
The word “and” also reminds us that the task of making disciples in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the word is overwhelming and seemingly impossible. That is how it should be. The “and” mission is bigger than our individual abilities, so we must rely on the Holy Spirit and each other to finish the task. Our working together with the Holy Spirit to be the church to the an unbelieving world is the kingdom way. That is what makes the word “and” so glorious!