Mark 16:15-16 - And He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
If you have ever had the frustrating experience of having communicated to someone something you thought was perfectly clear only to discover that what you said was completely misunderstood, then you have some idea of how our Lord must have felt (humanly speaking) about His disciples. He had told them He was going to suffer and die and rise again from the dead, but they did not understand at all what was said.
So little did they understand, in fact, that even after His resurrection, when reliable witnesses told them that He had risen from the dead, His disciples still did not believe them. Finally, Mark tells us at the close of his Gospel, "Afterward He (Jesus) appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen" (Mark 16:14).
Those original eleven disciples were men with human failings just like us—men whose understanding was often limited and whose faith was sometimes weak. Yet it was to these very human men that our Lord said to go and take the Good News into all of creation. It was their task to tell the world that through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection there is salvation freely available for all people everywhere.
It's a joy to know that God uses us, weak, frail human beings that we are, to announce His message of love and forgiveness to people everywhere. And how that joy is increased because we know our Lord gives us not only the task, but also the power to perform it—just as He did with His original disciples. "And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs" (Mark 16:20).
When we are involved in reaching out into all the world with the Gospel—whether through our support of our church's mission outreach programs or our support of the worldwide reach of Lutheran Hour Ministries—we have the assurance from our Lord Himself that He will bless these efforts and that this work and witness will not be in vain.
And in our own lives as His modern-day disciples, if we are faithful to our calling to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus into all the world, our efforts will be blessed as well. By God's Spirit of grace, He will work through our words and actions, leading others to Himself so they, too, can one day carry His message to the ends of the earth.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, bless our words and actions so that others may know Your love through the message we share. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, March 1979 issue, "Go into All the World" by Ron Schlegel
1. Do you enjoy your job? Is it work that fits your skills and interests?
2. Is there an urgency in Jesus' command to spread the Gospel around the world?
3. How can we follow Jesus' command in the lives we live, here and now?
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