A Well-Known Passage of Scripture defines for us what Christ Expects His Faithful Disciples to Continually be Doing while Awaiting His Return. Have WE in any way Diminished its Scope in the Modern Era?
An often quoted passage, spoken by Christ directly to His Disciples during the few days prior to His ascension to Heaven, is found in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. These passages are commonly regarded as defining “the Great Commission”. Matthew has, beginning in verse 18: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Mark’s version of the same instruction, beginning in verse15 is: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18: They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19: So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20: And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
From this clear instruction, God’s Church has largely taken its cue. In the modern era the Church’s mission has been generally built around doing what this particular mandate calls for, seeing in it two major aspects: 1) preaching the Gospel to the world and 2) educating those who respond with intent of themselves becoming disciples. It seems, then, that there’s a general compliance with the instruction. So, does it warrant another look?
These Signs Shall Follow
It’s one thing to preach the Gospel to all the world. It’s another to have people respond to the message. But perhaps the overlooked aspect of this situation is the predicted and intended outcome, that of implementing the Commission fully.