Assigned the task of commenting on why Jesus needs diplomats, I promptly exercised the liberty of writing on ambassadors instead. My excuse is biblical: unlike the term “diplomat,” the word “ambassador,” for whatever reason, is used in Scripture (e.g., Eph. 6:19, 20).
The very first verse of Matthew refers to Jesus as Jesus Christ. That makes Him the Messiah, the Anointed One. It also calls Him David’s son: Jesus is God’s anointed king. The Wise Men from the east, coming to bring royal gifts to the Baby Jesus, explicitly acclaimed Him “King of the Jews” (Luke 2:2).
One of the things that kings do is appoint ambassadors.
Jesus was, literally, out of this world. Yes, He is King, but not of earth, as He plainly stated to Roman governor Pilate (John 18:36). Still, that He was otherworldly makes Him no less a king, no less qualified for the duties, privileges, and responsibilities of monarchy.
Kings and other rulers of state are particular in their selection of ambassadors, often choosing individuals who have some combination of closeness to them, high competence and willingness to serve; persons possessing political savvy, sufficient experience, and a good range of contacts. Those contacts speak to the need for good relationships between the monarch’s kingdom and the nations with which there will be interaction. Consider, for example, how such countries as my current homeland, Canada, along with other Western powers, are obliged to build their links with Ukraine and find ways of communication with both Ukraine and Russia even as war persists between those two countries.
How does any of this apply to us in Jesus’ kingdom? We know that we have been selected, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9). We are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:21). But why?
When I was chosen as the first resident ambassador to Cuba, and the youngest till today from the land of my birth, the main qualities I brought to the appointment were my surprising level of political understanding and experience, given my youth. But the kingdom of God is not designed to thrive on the basis of intriguing maneuvers for achieving power and control. According to the Lord of the kingdom, we have no access to His realm except we accept the divinely bestowed gift of repentance (Acts 5:31); except we “are converted and become as little children” (Matt. 18:3). Answering a question on rank in His kingdom, He called to Himself one of the many little children near enough to be His show-and-tell. Then He said, “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom” (verse 4). Status in Jesus’ kingdom would be a matter of topsy-turvy for most clear-thinking and successful politicians around Him then or hearing Him now. Jesus needs unpretentious ambassadors of disarmingly trusting spirit to represent His cause. He needs people of undying gratitude to Him because He “called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It is not theological brilliance that qualifies us as Christ’s ambassadors. It is our closeness to the King of kings. It is knowing Him well enough to speak for Him without distorting His picture or His truth: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
When the foreign minister of Guyana summoned me to his office and informed me that the president of Guyana was inviting me to be his ambassador to Cuba, I was excited. How would you respond if King Jesus invited you to become one of His ambassadors? During my years as Guyana’s ambassador to Cuba, I could not witness on behalf of the otherworldly citizenship I now enjoy. Sadly, those were years when I had abandoned my faith and life as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. In the years after I returned to faith, one of my greatest regrets has been the years I lost, when I could have represented simultaneously a kingdom infinitely more wonderful than any earthly domain. Not surprisingly, one of my favorite Bible promises is that the Lord will restore to me “the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25, NIV).
Here’s good news: if you have a relationship with Jesus today, you are His ambassador right now, right where you are. Jesus needs ambassadors today. Please stand up and say, “Lord, send me.”