Becoming the Viral Disseminators of the Gospel
Translated by Allan Liang
For most, there would be a change of demeanor when discussing matters of the pandemic, given its startlingly high rate of transmission, its scope of influence, and its severity. Several months ago, it was given the status of a pandemic by WHO (a rather late decision), after escalating from the level of an epidemic. From the word “pan”, meaning “all encompassing”, we can have some sense of the severity of the virus. In reality, the way Christians spread the gospel should resemble the spread of the virus. The Jews once called Paul “one causing trouble all over the world” (Acts 17:6), and “a plague” (Acts 24:5). How can we become the super disseminator of the gospel? In today’s scripture, Jesus sent out his disciples two by two to preach. Prior to sending them out, Jesus gave them a command that appeared confusing and contrary to common sense. Why were they not permitted to bring along any items except for a staff and the clothes that they wore? What message does this speak to us? It is not difficult to imagine that Navy Seals, when carrying out missions, are only permitted by their commanders to bring their equipment and ammunition, leaving behind their money, credit cards and additional sets of clothing. They need and have only one thing in mind: to complete their mission. In the same manner, here Jesus requires of his disciples to focus solely on their mission, allowing no room for possible distractions. Even when entering a person’s house, they were not to spend unnecessary time engaging with those people, treating the house mainly as a place to rest their heads. For Christians, this is the task that Jesus has given us. We carry on our backs the mission that Jesus has given us: expanding the kingdom of God and changing the hearts of man, through the preaching of the gospel, and the persuading of people towards repentance and belief in Christ Jesus. You may say: “but I am not an apostle”, or “I have not been ordained as a minister”. But please pay attention that in the book of Acts, those who spread the gospel across all of Samaria and the land of the Jews were none other than the common believers. (see Acts 8:1-4) Due to persecution, they were scattered across all of the land, yet in the midst of living their lives and working their jobs, they did not forget their mission of sharing the word of God. Furthermore, the only occurrence of the “evangelist” in the Bible is used to describe one who was not an apostle, but rather a deacon, called Philip (Acts 21:8). He was a common believer. Therefore, for believers today, no matter where we go, we are to be like parachuters, landing in a world full of sin and evil, spreading the gospel with viral efficiency. We are to find weak points in the grounds of our enemies and there, establish our strongholds. If you are not yet a Christian, please quickly accept the gospel. The time and opportunity reserved for you to believe in Jesus is not as much as you would like to think. Please note that in these passages of scripture, due to the urgent nature of their task, the disciples would not stay in any village for a prolonged time. If the people rejected the message of the apostles, they would quickly depart from that place and spend little extra time there. Therefore, for people of those times, if they were to believe, they had to make the decision quickly, wasting no opportunity and wasting no time. In reality, the situation is the same today. We may see that there are some seekers of the gospel (though we personally, are unfamiliar with the term “gospel seekers”, for those who are unbelievers will not seek God and his word, see Romans 3:11) who remain in the church for much time, so long that decades pass in the glimpse of an eye, yet they still refuse to believe. However, these people are still in the minority. Most people, after coming to church and hearing the gospel several times will either refuse to listen any further and leave without returning, or will be captivated by gospel and profess belief. Consequently, we are to believe in Jesus as soon as possible. The book of Hebrews in the Bible says that in the old testament times, God used prophets to speak his word at various times and at various places, however 2000 years ago, God sent his Son Jesus to this earth, who completed the work of salvation and spoke clearly of the word of redemption. We are truly much more blessed than the people of the old testament times; yet if we do not grasp on to this wonderful opportunity, and ignore the gospel brought by the Son of God, we will receive a greater judgment than the people who refused to believe in the old testament times. (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:2). Either we are to win big or we will lose everything. Please meditate with prayer: when will you accept the gospel? Have you focused on the mission given to you by Jesus?