And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
History and Context:
These are two different accounts of the same event, the last words of Jesus to His disciples. Matthew was, of course, one of the twelve himself and Mark, or John Mark, was a companion of Peter who was one of Jesus' inner three. Therefore these are both trusted sources as to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. This is the last command, or commission, from Jesus to His disciples, before He ascended into heaven.
The beginning word in both of these commands is the same: "Go"! This means that in order to fulfill what Jesus has told us to do, we have to go out to the people. We can not sit in our churches and expect them to come. After this word we have two different steps of the process being portrayed by the two points of view. Mark quotes Jesus as telling us to "preach the Gospel", whereas Matthew quotes Him as saying "make disciples". Together the two authors are showing that there is a process which Jesus is commanding us to go through with people. First we must preach and share the good news, but then next we must stay with them and grow them as disciples. After this Mark begins to share the signs that will "follow those who believe". Reading further in Matthew we also see the signs "confirming the Word". In other words, the signs come when the Word is preached and shared.
When is the last time you shared the Gospel with someone? Who is currently your disciple? The challenge is to seek opportunities to preach and to disciple. This doesn't mean you have to be in full-time ministry. It also doesn't mean you have to get out in the street and start preaching to those who walk by. To preach is simply to proclaim. We can proclaim the Gospel to our friends, our co-workers, our family, or whoever God sends in our path. Just remember to share in love and if they are not ready to hear, back off and pray for them. Beyond just preaching we are also called to disciple. I believe we should have at least one person who we are discipling and one person who is discipling us at all times. Think about the relationships which God has sent you. Is there anyone that you should be taking the opportunity to speak into their lives and help them grow? Take the initiative, make the time, this is important!
Lord, help me to not miss an opportunity to speak into people's lives. Help me to not miss an opportunity to preach your Gospel. I want to be someone who spreads your Word. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!