Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Luke / Acts – A model for mission (1)

While en route to Russia recently, I stayed over in a North African country for two days. I decided not to mention the name of the country as I do not want to jeopardize the Christian church in that country in any way. While I was there I was (unexpectedly) asked to present a lecture on mission at a YWAM training base about 100 kilometres from the city where we were staying. I agreed to do this and had to make do with very little sleep that night as I prepared what I would be teaching on the following day. Fortunately I had the basic thoughts in my mind (and some notes on my laptop) and it was more a matter of organising things in the form of a lecture.
I have long been interested in the Gospel of Luke and the other book written by the same author, Acts. In 1988 I attended a synod meeting, consisting primarily of Black church leaders with a few White people in between. This was not a good meeting. This was at the height of the racial tension in South Africa. The meeting took place in a Black township outside Pretoria (Mamelodi) and the tension was clearly visible even at this meeting. One political activist attending the meeting was known to proclaim openly that if any White person should agree with him, he had not been radical enough.
It was at this meeting that David Bosch was asked to lead the daily Bible study. He chose to do it from the books of Luke and Acts and sub-titled the Bible studies: Two books for our time. Never before nor since have I experienced such depth and such practical guide lines in a Bible Study. David Bosch later published his research on these two books in an Afrikaans publication which he sub-titled: Good news for the poor … and the rich and later, when he published his Transforming Mission, he devoted the entire chapter 3 to these two Bible books. (Just as a matter of interest: The same radical Black person at the synod was afterwards asked to thank David Bosch on behalf of the synod for the Bible studies and he said something like: I would never have thought it possible that a White man would be able to lead us in a Bible study in such a way that I could agree with him, but David Bosch did exactly this! I thought this was quite a compliment.
In my lecture I did not follow Bosch’s guidelines. I followed another route which I will try and explain over the next few days on this blog.
I’m not, first of all, a New Testament scholar, but in the books and commentaries I consulted, one verse stands out in the gospel of Luke as the central verse and this is Luke 9:51: “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” As I proceed, it will become clear why this verse is so important.
Jerusalem plays an extremely important part in both the gospel of Luke as well as in Acts. The following examples will help to illustrate this:

  • The gospel starts and ends in Jerusalem
  • Jesus is dedicated to the Lord in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22)
  • Jerusalem is indicated as the place where Jesus would complete His earthly mission (Luke 9:31)
  • From Luke 9:51 Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem starts
  • Jerusalem is the city where Jesus died, was resurrected and ascended to heaven
  • Jerusalem is the end of Jesus’ mission on earth
  • Jerusalem is the starting point for the disciples’ mission to the world (Acts 1:8 )

Monday, May 5, 2008 - Posted by | Church, David Bosch, Mission, Poverty, Racism, Theology


  1. I’m reading this little book now. It’s still so relevant.

    Comment by Tom Smith | Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] time, heard him speak about this topic. I actually urge you to read more about this remarkable time here. When speaking about the all-inclusiveness of Jesus’ mission, it may be easy to think that this […]

    Pingback by Transforming Mission - Chapter 1 « Mission Issues | Saturday, March 14, 2009 | Reply

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