A Bit of Missional Hermeneutic & a Story from Tanzania

Happy Advent! I hope that anticipation of God’s blessing and hope wells up within you.

Early this month, I was teaching a seminar in Dumila, Tanzania for pastors from the Tanzania Assemblies of God. My subject was Ephesians 4 and Paul’s ministry paradigm of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. As I dug into biblical examples of apostolic ministry, a ministry that extends the grace of God to new frontiers, I asked the pastors for examples from the life of Jesus. The first pastor to speak up said, “When he came to earth.” It was a simple observation, but one that had escaped me. In the very incarnation, Jesus was missional. The young pastor in Dumila, who at most was educated at a high school level, pointed out the glory of God’s mission in Jesus. As N.T. Wright says, “What God intended to do to and through Israel, to make Israel his people for the world, God has now achieved and accomplished through Jesus Christ” (Reflecting the Glory, p.54).

Those who claim faith in Jesus are sent to be witnesses of the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  May our Christmas be filled with wonder, awe, and opportunity to bear witness in word, in deed, and in our daily living.