Read Mark 16
Focus on verse 15-16
If you have ever attended a commissioning of any kind, you understand that when a person or group is commissioned, it means they are given a task or project of some kind to complete in order to complete the “mission”. This is very often done for military operations. A soldier or group of soldiers is commissioned (aka – sent on a mission) which they have agreed to complete or die trying to complete.
In today’s reading Jesus commissions His followers to complete the task that He began.
And he 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.” (v. 15-16)
The group that heard these words just prior to Jesus ascension did a pretty good job of reaching the world around them during their lifetimes. Of the original eleven* disciples that heard Jesus deliver this commissioning, all but one would sacrifice their lives for the cause. By the time the last of original Apostles died, the message had spread to nearly every corner of the Roman Empire as well as many of the surrounding nations in the then known world.
Since that time this message has continued to spread and grow in nearly every nation in the world. The mission, however, is still not done. There are still places where people have not heard the good news of eternal life that is available through Jesus Christ. The commission therefore continues to be in effect for those who claim to follow Jesus. As followers of Jesus we are bound to “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” until it is done, or until we die trying to get it done. While our roles are not all the same, we all have a role to play in completing the mission. Some are called to go as ambassadors of the gospel to dark and dangerous places. Others are called to train and equip these messengers, still others are called to give of their material and financial resources to make it possible for them to go, and all of us are called to pray for and encourage one another in the mission as we work together to get it done.
It would seem that the bottom line might be that if we are not involved in the mission somehow, perhaps we need to re-examine whether we are truly followers of Jesus at all.