He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
Jesus had risen, and little by little the reality of the resurrection began to sink in with the disciples. When Jesus met with the “Eleven” (minus Judas) for the first time, He confronted them about not believing the others who had seen Him.
Then Jesus gave the Eleven this command to “Go” … “preach” …and “baptize.” Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven the church was born. On that day Peter stood up and preached. And when people heard about the sacrifice of Jesus and asked, “What should we do?” Peter said, “repent and be baptized.” Why? …Because that’s what Jesus had commanded just ten days earlier.
In the church, we call this directive from Jesus “The Great Commission.” It has been the driving force behind everything the church has done for the past two thousand years. The vast majority of colleges and universities, hospitals, and benevolent organizations were begun by Christians who saw these efforts as an opportunity to further Jesus’ commission on earth. Colleges and universities enhanced the mind so it could be used to help mankind. Hospitals merged the providence of God’s healing power with gifted doctors. Organizations provided a vehicle for all people everywhere to be the arms and feet of Jesus. Sometimes these roots are omitted or glossed over in the historical overview of these institutions. But if you dig a little deeper you will find it.
And of course, the church itself as a worshipping body has made every effort possible to share the message of salvation and introduce others to Jesus. For centuries people have dedicated their lives to the study and transmission of God’s word, the proclamation of the gospel, and the equipping of the saints for service. The relatively modern forms of youth groups, Sunday Schools, radio and television ministries (for better or worse), and Christian books and magazines are a testimony to the desire God’s people have to see others know Jesus.
But what else could the disciples do? What else can any disciple today do? If we believe Jesus died, and rose again, and if we believe He suffered the pain of the cross for our salvation, we have no choice but to share.
Mary Magdalene shared the news. The other women shared the news. The two on the road to Emmaus shared the news. Other disciples were persecuted, imprisoned and killed in the process of sharing the news.
But still they shared. They shared, not just because that’s what Jesus told them to do, but also because it was only logical. If you are a sinner saved by grace, and you comprehend the nature of that grace, then you want other sinners to know too.
Yes, people are lost without Jesus. And it is good that Jesus commanded us to “Go” because there are times when we become pretty self-absorbed.
But I would like to think our “going” is more than just an act of obedience.
Dear God, send me for a multitude of reasons. In Jesus’ name, Amen.