If you have been a Christian long I am sure you are familiar with the passage found in Mark 16 (or at least Matthew 20) where Jesus tells the disciples to go into all the world preaching and making disciples. It is at the end of His earthly ministry and even after the resurrection has taken place. It seems as if He is telling them, I am leaving, but you are ready to do what I have been doing.
This week I have been faced with a few Christians who have all said things to the effect of, “I am just not prepared for outreach” or “I am still working on myself.” This sounds spiritual and we could probably say that there needs to be some time ‘settling in’ this Christian life before we go out and try and make converts.
We could even look at where the disciples find themselves standing three years into it getting a commission from the Lord and say, well, He had trained them until they were prepared so we should be trained and ready before we try our hand at evangelism. The problem I find with this interpretation of what is going on is that it is a lie from the Devil. What I find in scripture is that not only is the last call to the disciples, “go and make disciples,” but it is the first as well.
In Mark chapter 1 we find Jesus walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. When He comes across the brothers, Simon and Andrew fishing He calls out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers for people.” He is essentially saying, “Come be my disciples so that you can make disciples.”
As we follow the story line along it doesn’t take long for Jesus to be followed by huge crowds in which he heals the sick, casts out demons, and preaches salvation from the Lord. But He never says to the disciples, “sit close and take notes because you will take over when I am gone.” One day, in fact, He just tells them to go out in pairs and heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach salvation. Essentially, “Go and make disciples.” (You can read about this in Luke 9.)
When they return to Him, sure, I am sure they had problems, but Jesus then returns to a time of instruction before sending them out again, and this time a larger number of them. (You can read this in Luke 10).
When we look at the disciples we can plainly say that they weren’t ready. I mean Peter is soon to deny Jesus three times, so we can’t say His faith was solid yet. And even Judas Iscariot was one of the ones sent out. But Jesus never said that they need to work on themselves before going out. What He taught them was that the Kingdom of God is too big to be contained and must be taken into the world.
This week, my challenge to you is to get over yourself and preach the Good News wherever you are. I will also be posting some stuff on evangelism through the week so check back.