Bible reading: Mark 16:1-20
In my early childhood days, my nuclear and extended families either lived in the same compound or within a short walking distance. To maintain order among the large number of teenagers and young children in constant interaction, a hierarchy based on age was set-up. I was a lowly number 9 out of 13 at age five. The top 4 were basically untouchable and unapproachable by those of us lower on the food chain except when any of our parents sent us to deliver a message to them. Whenever I had the privilege of being the messenger, I would walk up to them without hesitation and give the message as it was sent; the same words, attitude, tone and finality with which the message was committed to me. Circumstances didn’t matter, just the mission given to me by the “supreme authorities”.
The Believer’s Mission
Reading today’s text, I feel like I am stepping into my little 5-year old shoes again, only this time, things are on an infinitely grander scale. There are three elements to the commission given us by our Lord Jesus we could shine a spotlight upon.
Jesus says “Go”
Our witnessing to the trust of the gospel is a command. We have been ordered to deliver this message to our world and that by the highest authority. It is a duty of the utmost honour because it comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sent in His authority and promised His power and His presence. In delivering the message of the gospel, we can (and should) do it with great audacity – neither afraid of those to whom we are sent nor ashamed of the message itself.For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 NIV)
Consequently, it would be inexcusable for us to pay no attention to the command. It is not an option. Jesus is not giving us advice. He is telling us what we must do. Whether it is by words or by deeds, the gospel must be preached. Everytime. Everywhere. By every believer. What would it look like if your life was one long sermon about the gospel of Christ?
Jesus says “Saved… Or Condemned”
The value of the message is hinged on the person of Jesus, His authority and character. The severity of the message is revealed by how it affects the eternal destiny of every man. It is not a matter of life or death; it is a matter of eternal life or eternal death.
The story is told of a well known serial killer as he was being executed in England. A clergy man was reading portions of scripture as final rites when the killer suddenly interrupted him and asked, “Do you believe what you’re reading?… If I believe what you Christians say about hell, I would crawl on my hands and knees across England, even if the road was full of broken glass, and consider it worth my while if only to save one sinner from that hell which you talk about.”
While we do not preach hell but Christ to the world, we must make it our goal that everybody gets the chance to reject Jesus. This places a responsibility to reach everyone we are sent to with an accurate representation of the gospel. After all, if they are rejecting our message, it should be clear to everyone what they are rejecting.
Jesus says “Baptize”
Court drama can be exciting sometimes. Every witness in court is under oath to tell the truth; the end-game is for the truth to lead to a decision. The eventual proof of a decision for Christ is a public declaration of faith through baptism. We should always aim to have everyone we witness to come to a point of decision and then follow through on their decision. Baptism is the playout of journey where people realize the consequences of the decision to believe.
Let today not just be another day as usual. Make it count in the things that matter. Whether you preach the gospel in words or deed, witness to someone directly or lead them to a church gathering or atmosphere where the gospel is preached, do so with boldness and a sense of honour, knowing that you’re fulfilling your duty and influencing the eternal destiny of a person. He who wins souls is wise (Prov. 11:30).
Outreach & Missions Team Lead