Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Here we are. Gathered around the feet of the Master, high up in a mountain of Galilee, where the view of the sea, hills, and fields below is truly spectacular. Only recently our Lord and Savior arose from the dead and showed Himself to us by many infallible proofs, by which we are now sure that His love covered our sins and conquered death on the cross. O, the joy to see our beloved Savior again before He goes up in the cloud to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high!
Our Lord has a final word for us. Something urgent and of worldwide significance. Some new command and commission. What a breathtaking location for this final word! For here we can look panoramically at the whole world, to the east, to the north, to the south, to the west. Now, listen, He is about to speak. “Go ye,” says our all-powerful and exalted Master, “into all the world and teach all nations. Preach the gospel…. Baptize those who believe…. Teach them to observe all things…. And lo, I am with you alway….”
Simple, yet demanding task! It is simple enough to understand the call to go, for every day we are going somewhere, from one place to another. But so demanding! For He is calling us to go out of our sphere of familiarity, out of our beloved life here in Galilee near that little sea down there, and into all those nations of the world!
O, but let us now recall that He Himself went out from His realm of heavenly splendor, being sent by the Father, and came into this world to save us poor, lost sinners from our sins and the destruction we deserve. Is it such a great thing, then, if we His disciples are to follow in His footsteps? Indeed, remember what He told us not long ago, that as His Father sent Him, even so He is sending us? For that matter, has He ever told us that the way would be easy? Was it easy for Him to go into the world and suffer reproach and forsakenness and death?
Demanding is this mission from our God that calls us to leave our comfort zone, our earthly home, our families and friends, and go to nations and places afar off, where the customs and language are strange to us and the people sometimes hostile. But looking up into the face of the Lord and hearing the urgency of His tone, we know that He means what He says with utmost seriousness.
Into all nations of the world!
Did He not once direct us to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? Yes, but remember how our brethren according to the flesh have despised and rejected Him, crying out for His crucifixion! Do you remember how He said to us that many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven? The time has come, brethren, for the ingathering of the Gentiles, the fulfillment of the promise to father Abraham that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed! Into all the world! For He taught us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The sheep must be found and drawn to the Shepherd. The gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the world—so He told us on the Mount of Olives—for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, the glorious appearing of the Master on the clouds of heaven!
So, we go! To Jew and Gentile, high and low, rich and poor, male and female, dark- and light-skinned. We are runners, brethren, with a glorious torch to carry into all the world! We must press toward the mark, not slowing down as we draw near to the finish line, but pushing ourselves to run faster and harder, into all nations!
What an amazing privilege He has just given to us, His specially called and ordained apostles! To be leaders in His church whom He will use to build His church upon the rock of brother Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God! We are no men of high repute or earthly power, no kings or governors, whom He has sent to do this task, but mere servants of our King in a spiritual kingdom, ordained ministers of the gospel.
What a blessed work we are sent to do—and not only we but all whom the Master calls into this ministry of the Word, laborers in His vineyard, pastors and teachers in His church, preachers of the gospel of peace and glad tidings of good things! Let all who follow after us do the work of an evangelist! Let them go out into the highways and byways and bid their neighbors to the marriage of the Lord! Let them not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but be eager and open and ready to speak with their lost, heathen neighbors. Let them go, too, into other nations, across vast oceans, over mighty mountains, afar off to preach the gospel or aid and encourage those who do.
And, O, that all His disciples, male and female, farmer, sailor, builder, lawyer, doctor, engineer, craftsman, businessman, single and married, mother and father—would support and participate in our great commission! O, that they all would pray for us, with intimate understanding of our work, that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified! O, that they would give cheerfully and liberally to support us who preach the gospel, so that we need not make tents or have another occupation by which to eat our daily bread! O, that they might have opportunity to visit us on far away mission fields to witness the glorious work, and appreciate it all the more! But, O, that they would themselves participate, being ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them! O, that they would shine as lights in the world, in the midst of crooked and perverse nations, ready and eager to hold forth the Word of life to those who are without! Not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but knowing that it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes! Would to God that they would radiate every day with the hope of eternal life, having faces that show that the joy of the Lord is their strength! Master, use them too to bring others into the fold to hear the blessed tidings of salvation! Give them too to hear the call—GO!—as the Lord puts in front of them an opportunity in their daily lives to bear witness of Christ Jesus!
“Go…, teaching them.”
That is what the Master said. “Make disciples,” is what He told us to do. Simple, yet highly demanding task! Surely, He does not mean we can make anyone into a disciple of the living God, but rather that He will do so through us. But still, is not a disciple one who both believes in our Lord and Savior and follows Him in all areas of his life, through thick and thin, even at the cost of losing his life? We will need to have tremendous patience in this task. We will need to be committed to those who show vital interest in the gospel. We will need to have a long view of things.
But what a blessed task is ours! For the Lord has seen fit to make disciples in all nations by sending us to preach the gospel! To declare that He came into the world to save sinners. To herald that He must needs have suffered on the cross and given His life a ransom for many to redeem us from the curse of the law. To make known that He arose from the dead for our justification. To speak of the breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ for us whom God has chosen before the foundation of the world. To speak of the glories of everlasting life with God, in a sinless world without end, for all who love the appearing of the Master on the clouds on that great and notable day of the Lord!
What a joy that will be when men and women are drawn by the Father and given true faith in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit so that they may be baptized into His triune name! What a moving experience it will be to apply the waters of baptism to those sheep who are as yet afar off! To give them this new sacrament, this holy sign and seal, which bespeaks their union with the triune God and their inclusion in the eternal family—God the Father witnessing unto them that He makes an eternal covenant of grace with them and adopts them to be His children and heirs; God the Son promising them that He washes away all their sins by His precious blood; and God the Holy Ghost sealing unto them that He dwells in them and will sanctify them more and more!
What a wonder our Lord is revealing unto us, that the Lord of hosts, the God of our fathers, is indeed one God in three persons, a Father with His Son in loving communion through the Holy Spirit! And what an awesome blessing that He is drawing us and all who believe and are baptized into His divine life! Believers, and their seed! For our God has always extended the promise to us and our children, and our Lord told us to let the children come to Him and forbid them not. So we will baptize these believers with all their household, and new lines of the covenant promise will begin!
“Teaching them to observe….”
The Lord has still more for us to do. Our task will not yet be complete when the heathen are converted to Christ and baptized. But what a joy it is, too, to teach! All things that thou hast taught us, Lord? Thou hast taught us so much! The gospel of the kingdom of God! The precepts of Thy kingdom—love, forgiveness, compassion, humility, meekness, faithfulness, generosity, truth, courage, conviction, spirituality, trust, and doing all things to the glory of God! There is much to teach, so we must get busy and make disciples who know all Thy doctrines and who strive to follow all Thy precepts with delight.
But, Lord, this commission is greater than we.
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age. You are not alone, but I am with you. When you stand up to preach to the multitudes, I will be with you. When you are driven out of town, shackled in prison, lying under a pile of stones, I am with you. When words fail you and strength is gone, I will not leave you. When you leave father and mother, sister and brother, and go to far away places, I will go with you. I will be with you always. I will never leave you or forsake you. I will bless your lips so that you may give an answer to those who ask a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
Do you believe that I am with you? Believe this promise with all your heart, and GO! There will never be a time until the very end of this present age, until I return on the clouds of heaven where I am about to go, when I will not be with you. For you are my servants whom I love, and I intend to use you for the coming of My kingdom!
So, go, in this confidence.
Into all the world!
Until I come again.