THE (NOT SO) GREAT COMMISSION
How would you react if someone approaches you and claims He is the Son of God? That He will be killed but rise again in three days. What would your response be if you actually witness all this?
We might say things like: “I’d believe everything he says from now on and then ask him where and how he got the power to defeat death.” or we might say “I’d be in awe.” Those answers, I think are logical in a sense but there is still something missing. As human beings, we have this natural inclination to tell others about our experiences, especially when it is something unusual. We are just wired to socialize.
Social media has made that tendency even more convenient, as people are always posting updates online. We share files, events, experiences, and opinions among others. But all this sharing got me thinking: Isn’t the story of how Jesus died for us great? Isn’t it a great delight to tell somebody that someone died and bore their sins for them? Isn’t it worth sharing? If someone died for the sins of the world, bringing salvation to everyone, isn’t such story worth sharing?
In Matthew 28:18-17, Jesus said: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ If we know that He rose again from the dead and said these things, common sense would tell us to take His words seriously because all authority was given unto Him.
But nowadays, this great commission has become, so to speak, ordinary to most of us. We share the good part of Christianity, but we neglect accepting and speaking of hell, God’s wrath and judgment, punishment and even the trials that are to come.
We are like spoiled little children who think that our parents don’t love us when they punish us, but love us when they give what we want. We want salvation but just that. We are concerned only with what we can get, but never stopped to think about what we can do in response and in obedience to God – mostly because this calls for us to go out of our comfort zones and serve; it calls for us to obey not out of obligation, but out of love.
Thousands of Christians neglect this command given by Jesus. Why do you think most followers of Jesus are not sharing the Gospel?
Perhaps, we are afraid of rejection? Perhaps we might look weird to our friends? Perhaps we might offend and cause discomfort? But isn’t sharing with them the Good News that will determine where they will spend eternity the most loving thing to do for them?
In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus said: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Jesus was very direct and truthful. It’s scary to think that if we don’t acknowledge Him before men, we will also be rejected by Jesus one day. Jesus was clear about it in Matthew 10 when He called His first disciples: that those who will choose to follow Him will be hated on account of Him. There are no synagogues today yet we have friends who question our faith. People who mock our relationship with Jesus and say bad things about us but He also told his disciples in Luke 6:22-23: ‘Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”
No matter how direct and difficult these words spoken by our Lord is the only way to live as an authentic disciple.
We often twist the Bible to adjust to what we want to hear and do, but it should be the other way around. The great commission doesn’t adjust to our liking. Jesus did not say we are excused if we are reserved or an introvert; busy or lack resources. He meant what He said and no matter who we are, whether we are a part of an internal ministry or someone of importance, this is our primary mission. It’s why we exist. It’s why we do what we do.
Believers in the book of Acts were killed because of their faith, some were imprisoned and beaten but they continued to preach the Gospel regardless of the cost. The early church continued to grow despite all the persecution. They did not have the freedom to speak, yet they did so. Today, in most countries, we are free to share the Gospel and yet we remain silent. It should bother us that our lives as Christians today is very different from the lives of the early Christians in the Bible.
Ask yourself these questions: Am I really a disciple? If so, why do I not reach out? Do I really believe that Jesus rose from the grave? Or I just know it but don’t really believe in it with all my heart?
Writer’s Bio: Patrick Purugganan is from Real Life Christian Communities. He’s an aspiring youth pastor and is very passionate for purity.