by: Lee DeYoung
In these devotional reflections, we have considered Jesus’ command in Acts 1:8: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Being a witness for Jesus requires us to provide personal testimony on his behalf to others. Doing so “to the ends of the earth” involves cross-cultural interactions with persons from foreign lands and cultures.
Paul employs parallel imagery: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” As his “witness” and “ambassador” we speak for God to a world he seeks to reconcile to himself. If we are Christ’s ambassadors, then the church is a kind of embassy—an outpost of another government in a foreign land.
In 2010 my Words of Hope work required me to visit the U.S. embassies in the capitals of Niger and Uganda. As I entered those facilities, I experienced the unique sensation of being at home amidst alien surroundings. Each diplomatic staff member serves to positively represent his or her homeland to the citizens of a distant country. The embassy itself is officially considered the sovereign territory of the nation it represents. As Christ’s ambassadors to a fallen world, may we faithfully exemplify our heavenly citizenship as we, on his behalf, implore those around us to be reconciled to God.