The Lord Gives the Great Commission
Translated by Allan Liang
The Lord Jesus resurrected; he appeared to Mary and others, but when this message arrived at the disciples, they did not believe, because they did not see with their own eyes the resurrection of the Lord. Consequently, the disciples who were not willing to believe unless they saw with their own eyes, received a rebuke from Jesus when he appeared before their eyes; they did not believe the message sent to them regarding the Lord’s resurrection, because unless they saw, they would not believe the Lord had already resurrected, or in other words, they did not believe that the Lord was the resurrected Lord, that he had already triumphed over death. The Lord rebuked the hardness of their hearts. We are unable to imagine the situation at the time, and Mark also did not describe it in too much detail, for the author proceeded to record the commandment referred as, “the great commission”, a mission like calling given by Jesus to his disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Three Gospel books have all recorded this scene (Matthew 28: 16-20, Luke 24:44-49), and were all recorded as the teachings of the Lord delivered face to face to the disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension. The Lord wants us to preach the gospel to all the nations, and further said that those who believe will be saved, those who do not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16), the ultimate outcome of believing and not believing is explained very clearly. And with believing, there will be actions of faith and obedience - baptism, accompanied by miraculous signs (Mark 16:17). What about not believing? There will be no verification by baptism and other actions. The actions and power brought by faith are from God, and to those who do not believe, any and all external actions are unable to redeem the final outcome of condemnation. God has never given any unclear teaching on believing and not believing, yet the hearts of men are hard, and often waver between belief and unbelief. The resurrected Lord has placed the power of the resurrection on those who trust in him, and he has protected his chosen ones, ones who by firm, unshakable faith, will spread the gospel that saves men from condemnation to all the nations. Faith has allowed his messengers to preach the gospel of believing Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, today, we are the very fruit of the gospel yielded after God gave the great commission, we were originally part of an atheistic and gentile nation condemned of sin, yet we received God’s mercy, opening the eyes of our souls, and letting us hear the saving gospel and believe that Jesus is the Savior; he has allowed us to not perish, but have eternal life. Today, his mission given to his disciples, is also given to us, how we act precisely reveals what kind of faith we believe with, the gospel that we preach is the gospel that lets us fully believe and gives us the power of God’s resurrection. In other words, our strength to preach the gospel is indicated by whether we live out the life of fully believing this gospel has saved us from condemnation, and whether we are like God’s vessels that contain salvation and his power, connected to God’s glorious name. If the gospel has not fully won us over, what we preach is useless; telling a story about Jesus that has nothing to do with our own lives, cannot make us used by God as one whom he has entrusted his mission. Our faith in Jesus has allowed us to be used by the Lord and given his resurrected power, faith has allowed us to be credited with his righteousness, become a new creation, become one used by the Lord and spread the Lord’s gospel. May the Lord strengthen our faith, and have us not live our lives as if the Lord did not resurrect and death has not been defeated, and have us not become lost in worldly pursuits, not willing to forsake the old self which has already been taken off by the Lord. The mission we have already been given certainly will be accomplished, and we wait expectantly until the days are full when the resurrected Lord Jesus will come again. The devotions on the Gospel of Mark is nearing its end, may the Lord Jesus who is the Word incarnate dwell among us; he has built his city - a mighty fortress and life-illuminating light, on this earth, within his church and within the hearts of us who trust in him, let us be set apart as holy and march on ahead. May the Lord’s glory be revealed. Soli Deo Gloria!