Starting New Things – Multipication and Fruitfulness
The command of God to those bearing God’s image, is two-fold, fruitfulness and dominion, (Genesis 1:26-1:28). Creation has been made out of chaos and waste, Gen 1:2 and humanity are to share in the ongoing work of creation, Gen 2:19-20, starting in the garden of Eden. The creation is a big place and so God commands humans to multiply and be fruitful and fill it, presumably so all the work can get done.
Unfortunately, after leaving the garden, humans do continue to multiply but they multiply wickedness. Cain kills his brother Abel, then through the generations before and after the flood wickedness increases and multiplies, until the whole world is involved.
God then chooses Abram to get the creation project back on track and promises that Abram will multiply, becoming the father of many nations, Gen 12:1-3. This multiplication of God’s people and purposes and blessings continues through Genesis. Israel becomes twelve tribes, the people in Egypt become a great number and then after the Exodus, a people then a nation. However, the fortunes of Israel are a rollercoaster of their own making, and the creation project stalls within that one nation.
Ultimately Jesus comes to fulfil Israel’s and humanity’s destiny to bring the full and complete redemption of the creation project restoring image bearing and justice bringing them back to centre stage. In the course of his ministry Jesus multiplies his group by calling the twelve disciples, which in turn lead to seventy-two and by the time of Pentecost the number is about one hundred and twenty, (Acts 1:15). Jesus describes himself as the seed that falls into the ground and dies, the ultimate source of all multiplication and fruitfulness, (John 12:24).
On the day of Pentecost those one hundred and twenty become three thousand, and then throughout the book of Acts multiplication continues. The word is multiplied, Acts 6, 11, 12, 13 and 19, and the disciples grew in number, Acts 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 14, 16, and 17. The number of churches multiplies, through the ministry of Paul among others until they are all around the eastern, northern and western shores of the Mediterranean. The number of church leaders increases in each of Paul’s three missionary journeys, from three named individuals in the first, to thirteen in the second and finally thirty-six in the third.
Church history tells us that this multiplication continued. From Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth, just as Jesus said it would. Not only did the church multiply geographically, it multiplied through time. Successive generations pass on the call of discipleship that we should be Image Bearing Justice Bringers who Multiply.
For encouragement: Starting a New Thing is your part in the unfolding multiplication by God of the Image bearing Justice Bearing plan for the whole creation.
To think about: Where do you see opportunity and need for a New Thing to Multiply Image Bearing and Justice Bringing? Where is the Holy Spirit leading you in this?
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