…Means Jesus loves Japan.
For the past 2000 years, since the year 33 AD when Jesus gave the great commission to “go into all the world, making disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:16-20), Christian missions has taken on many forms. With the eventual spread of denominations and various Christian sects, the mission field has in many way become one of many faces, due to the variety of differences found in teachings, methods, and focus of evangelism in Japan.
The foundational, commonly accepted beginnings of Christianity in Japan were those of Francis Xavier and those who traveled with him in Japan. Approximately 400 years later — after much turmoil, ousting of Christianity, and the sealing of Japan’s borders — Protestant missions found their way into the mainland of Japan and began to set up camp with cell churches, independent groups and ministries leading the way.
Given this rough introduction to Christianity, this particular article begs the question: With so much historical divide, and now a very wide gap in the ratio of workers to the harvest field, what should be the actual focus of Christian missions in Japan? Should it be to convert to a religious view, or to encourage others to attend churches and church functions? What are the spiritual needs in Japan, anyway?
Japan has a history steeped in idol worship, ancestor worship, and practices that hinge on duty, guilt and shame. But Japan has mastered something about which Americans should take note: unity. The Japanese prefer the betterment of the group rather than the individual achievement. That being said, can you imagine the possibilities of Christian Missions if there were one stone of common ground upon which each Christian ministry could stand? Is this even a possibility or reality, that multiple denominations can get together for one cause, to see others come to know Jesus Christ in a personal, tangible way — and foresake religiosity at the same time?
Let’s look at a scripture from Philippians 1:15-18:
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:16 The former[a] preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
We are called not to judge others, lest we be judged — and of the same measure at that (Matthew 7:2)! So while we may have various differences denominationally, religiously, and in other ways, the goal is clear: That Christ is preached. That the true essence, and full nature of Christ be preached. His love, His grace, His salvation to all, His ability and desire to heal, His overwhelming care and concern for us, His forgiveness.. All of this and much more is Christ.
The Japanese need to know not only who Jesus is, but that He is waiting to meet them personally, so that they may encounter the Jesus of the Bible, and the only true God in existence today.