And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
That is Jesus mandate to His church, His people, and His followers.
The engine for fulfilling the Great Commission is in communication and interaction of the Gospel and in active discipleship from one generation to the next till Jesus returns in person.
But communication and interaction of the Gospel have met with great obstacles inside Japan.
The Japanese population being about 127 million, that’s a lot of people for mass communication. But Japanese society and education system have maintained a long history of mono-lingualism and that have inevitably isolated themselves to themselves.
Furthermore the level of interactions and communications within Japanese society has been “reserved” and “restricted” through expectations of mannerism unique to their way of life.
There are situation unique to Japan that will show us a thing or two about “human to human communications and interactions” in this land.
Ramen shop that serve your bowl of noodle through a drawn curtain, and you eat in your own confined enclosed space.
Café where people don’t sit with people and have their coffee but instead sit with stuffed toy characters.
Japan started the first hotel serviced by robots. From check-in to check-out no human-to-human interactions unless guest make specific request and demand for it! And Japanese language structures (spoken) are carefully “grammartized” to be non-assertive, non-engaging in a direct manner.
What do all these show us about human-to-human interaction and communication within the land?
Isolation and seclusion have become a social norm.
Cases of people living alone and die alone are on the increase and this not just about elderly and aged.
On the extreme end of it – hikikomori (ひきこもり)
“Pokémon Go” which have been a major cause of annoyance for quiet neighborhood, on the other hand been praised for the “ability” to bring out to the parks and public place those who used to locked themselves in back at home.
Is the local churches affected?
The church is about people and what happens in society can happen in the church as well unless we stand firm in seeking first the kingdom of God and the righteousness of Jesus, and do things as according to the ways and teachings of Jesus.
There are facts and evident on the ground that shows a server lack of interactions and communications of the Gospel, and limited engagement in the Great Commission, among local churches.
Very few local churches raise their own next generation leaders.
Very few local churches are involved in active discipleship.
It is a common thing for congregation to “come and go” … no discipleship, no Bible studies, no nothing ….
Of course there are churches that do something, but it’s very rare.
There is a spiritual atmosphere of “isolation and seclusion” in the air
People are already so saturated in it that it becomes a normality of life.
Congregations even failed to notice they have isolated and secluded themselves from the Great Commission. Ideas of “church-planting”, “discipleship” and “Great Commission” are greeted with both amazement and ignorance.
What can we do about it?
Do the people themselves even want to do anything about it?
Like the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea with Moses, leaving Egypt for the Promised Land, the Japanese people themselves need to be assertive and be decisive to want to enter the kingdom of God and be part of the Great Commission.
Like Peter stepping out of the boat and walk on water, the Japanese people themselves need to take their own step of faith and walk with Jesus and be involved in active discipleship.
Nothing will change until the people themselves act on their faith.
That atmosphere of isolation and seclusion need to be reversed from the grassroots level up. Not the other way round!
There will be resistance and persecution.
But people need to be informed, that spiritual atmosphere of isolation, not only is it bad for the Gospel of Salvation, it’s already hindering the economy on a national level and disintegrating families units on the social front.
Why so serious?
Jesus did not start a new religion.
Jesus established a new covenant relationship between God and Man (inclusive of both men and women).
Jesus is the source of life here on Earth and eternal life for our future –
(John 14:6) – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is our source of life.
In Him is eternal life.
We don’t live alone, we don’t live by our-self and we don’t live for ourselves.
In Christ we live and have our being.
We are followers of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the head and founder of His church.
And if Jesus is the founder we are to be His followers and this is what we need to do to follow Jesus –
(2 Corinthians 4:5-6)
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
5 私たちは、自分のことを宣伝しているのではありません。主であるキリスト・イエスを宣べ伝えているのです。私たちはただ、イエスが私たちのために成し遂げてくださったことを知ったので、あなたがたに仕える者となっただけです。 6 「闇の中に光が輝け」と言われた神様が、私たちに、イエス・キリストの御顔に輝いている、神の栄光の輝きを理解させてくださったからです。
This nation and her people need not carry on that spiritual atmosphere of isolation and seclusion anymore and any longer.
It is time to embrace the light and truth of Jesus.