About three weeks ago Gene Mallett, who succumbed to a two year fight with multiple myeloma last week, asked me to sit and talk with him about his memorial service. When I asked him what songs he wanted at the service he immediately said, "God Tell it on the Mountain and...well...Go Tell it on the Mountain." A couple weeks later while talking with Sheila I learned he had requested a second song as well, "We Shall Overcome." Sounds like a great sermon to me.
Jesus began his Apostles ministry in his second year by sending them out two by two. "Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give" (Matthew 10:6-8). Luke records this in Chapter Nine and then follows that with another sending, "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves'" (Luke 10:1-3).
Many scholars believe the seventy were the disciples of the apostles who were getting their first taste of "going." Even before Jesus was lifted up on the cross he wanted his followers to know the importance of always proclaiming the kingdom of God. That command he obeyed each day he was on earth and he drummed it into his followers. Before he left he gave the final commission to go and make more disciples who will go and make more disciples.
If the apostles thought the task of discipling the world was too big they never said so. Like the words of the second song they believed Jesus and his church would snatch the lost from the grasp of this fallen world. As Peter proclaimed, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Paul underlined the promise of that second song by quoting from Isaiah 45:23, "‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God" (Romans 14:11-12)"
For Gene the waiting is over but he knew too many of his friends and family needed to here the call of God from the mountain so they too could finally overcome the chains of this fallen world.