The Christian story - the human story- begins with relatively simple instructions.
I want to reiterate a specific point from this passage: FILL the earth.
This is part of God’s blessing and plan for the world, that wherever His, wherever ANY, people go they would be greeted with a reminder of God’s own divine image.
In the Ancient Near East people used to set up small statues and altars of their God’s to demarcate their lands and to remind residents of who’s land they trod upon.
This is a Stelae from Aleppo, Syria and it is 'of the divine queen of the Land’ You can see the woman on the middle column and if she’s joined to the stone beneath she stands atop a lion.
The Judeo-Christian story is different.
Since our God is supreme no statue or carving is necessary.
In fact they are forbidden:
This is because YOU are the image of God and as such wherever you go you bear His presence and demonstrate His rule and reign.
Why would we settle for anything less than the supreme and almighty as our ruler?
It’d be like stepping down from working for the President to work at Boise State as a Janitor.
This passage is a quote from the Old Testament.
That’s God’s plan.
To make you royalty - to have you bear HIS image.
Do you remember what the plans of man were?
Let us make a name for ourselves and Let’s stay home.
This is in direct contrast to the will of God - Go forth multiply bear His image.
We all just lived through what happens when we cease face to face interactions.
A study that came out a decade before the pandemic found out that full time telework increased loneliness 67% over office work.
Just recently Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “Digital Technology should not be a substitute for human connection.”
The purposes of God are to empower you, as His agents, to bear blessings unto the earth.
Here’s the rub - believe it or not... you are part of the blessing of God to others.
This is because of the Holy Spirit that now lives in you and promotes God’s love.
Don’t rob your neighbor of the presence of God through you.
Pentecost is a sort of official re-commissioning - God makes you holy and lovely.
My friend just started in grad school over here at WSU and it is one of those Graduate programs where you get a white coat - vet school, pharmacy school, etc.
I congratulated him about getting that coat and he responded ‘for what?
I haven’t done anything yet!’
This is a bit how I feel about pentecost.
The Holy Spirit falls on them and they then get to call on God’s name and be saved.
All because God did the thing of covering them in the righteousness of Christ and filling them with His own holiness.
You are lovely before the Father AND His church.
This passage could make us all lose a lot of sleep.
That pesky little word ‘if’… If anyone loves me.
Context is crucial here.
Jesus is responding to Judas NOT THAT Judas.
The question being asked is ‘ How will you manifest yourself to us and NOT to the world?”
Theologian Dale Bruner has a clarifying passage answering this:
(Listen for Genesis 1 here)
” Jesus’ answer to the world-mission question of good Judas is incarnational and is somewhat “slant”: “I will reveal myself to the rest of the world the way I revealed myself to you, my first world: person to person, friend to friend, through individual human beings who love me and my Word; in short, through people who simply want to be real Christians.
My Father and I will come and make our home in these people who hold like life to—who cherish—my Word.
Then as these ‘wannabe Christians’ go out into the world, we—my Father and I!—will go out with them and in them.”
“I will take up residence in individual faithful disciples who love me and keep my Word, wherever and everywhere, and through them and their witness I will reveal myself to the surrounding world.
That’s how I’ll reach the rest of the world.”
Does this sound like the mission of God of Genesis 1? Friends God has enlisted you in His High and Good purpose.
Bring life and love to the world that they may know the fountain of hope and the longing of their souls.
Today through the Spirit, God calls you His own and you embark on this journey of faith and making Holy the earth.
May His Spirit guide you, correct you, and keep you in the love of Christ until He returns and claims us all His own.