the weight of the world

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)

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It was a wonderful week of holy conferencing in Athens with other United Methodist Christians from all over north Georgia. It was our new bishop’s first Annual Conference with us, and she took great effort to help delegates worship Jesus and look to the future as opposed to all of the things that seem to distract us in this day and age. And there are a lot of distractions, aren’t there? Things that bother us, make us restless, and cause us to worry. It can feel like quite the burden.

Today’s text comes from Jesus’ instructions to the disciples just prior to his ascension as he offered The Great Commission. He told them that all authority in heaven and on earth was his. There is freedom in that for you and me, because if it’s Jesus’ authority, it’s not ours. That wasn’t the end, though, because Jesus followed it up by pointing to the future and telling his followers are to go out into the world and teach of God’s love and hope for salvation.

We can know that in our heads, but it can be difficult to believe in our hearts. I say this out of personal experience. Looking at information from the news to my newsfeed, I see all kinds of evidence where people fear the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Honestly, I am burdened by it. As I reflect on Jesus’ preface to the Great Commission, though, I can’t help but think about the prophecy of God sending his one and only son into the world: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).

The weight of the world is on Jesus’ shoulders. Not yours. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to bear a burden you were never meant to carry. Instead, worship Jesus and look to the future. It will make a difference for your today and forever.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for Jesus. I confess that all too often I feel as though the weight of the world is on my shoulders, even though I wasn’t created to bear that burden. Forgive me, and help me to acknowledge Jesus’ authority as I worship him and work with others to make a better future for your people, regardless what we face today. I pray this in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.