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Go Teach All Nations
STANDING but a step from His heavenly throne, Christ gave the commission to His disciples.
"All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," He said. "Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations." "Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. Again and again the words were repeated, that
the disciples might grasp their significance. Upon all the inhabitants of the earth, high
and low, rich and poor, was the light of heaven to shine in clear, strong rays. The
disciples were to be colaborers with their Redeemer in the work of saving the world.
The commission had been given to the twelve when Christ met with them in the upper
chamber; but it was now to be given to a larger number. At the meeting on a mountain in
Galilee, all the believers who could be called together were assembled. Of this meeting
Christ Himself, before His death, had designated the time and place. The angel at the tomb
reminded the disciples of His promise to meet them in Galilee. The promise was repeated to
the believers who were gathered at Jerusalem during the Passover week, and through them it
reached many lonely ones who were mourning the death of their Lord. With intense interest
all looked forward to the interview. They made their way to the place of meeting by
circuitous routes, coming in from every direction, to avoid exciting the suspicion of the
jealous Jews. With wondering hearts they came, talking earnestly together of the news that
had reached them concerning Christ.
At the time appointed, about five hundred believers were collected in little knots on the
mountainside, eager to learn all that could be learned from those who had seen Christ since His resurrection. From group to group the disciples
passed, telling all they had seen and heard of Jesus, and reasoning from the Scriptures as
He had done with them. Thomas recounted the story of his unbelief, and told how his doubts
had been swept away. Suddenly Jesus stood among them. No one could tell whence or how He
came. Many who were present had never before seen Him; but in His hands and feet they
beheld the marks of the crucifixion; His countenance was as the face of God, and when they
saw Him, they worshiped Him.
But some doubted. So it will always be. There are those who find it hard to exercise
faith, and they place themselves on the doubting side. These lose much because of their
This was the only interview that Jesus had with many of the believers after His
resurrection. He came and spoke to them saying, "All power is given unto Me in heaven
and in earth." The disciples had worshiped Him before He spoke, but His words,
falling from lips that had been closed in death, thrilled them with peculiar power. He was
now the risen Saviour. Many of them had seen Him exercise His power in healing the sick
and controlling satanic agencies. They believed that He possessed power to set up His
kingdom at Jerusalem, power to quell all opposition, power over the elements of nature. He
had stilled the angry waters; He had walked upon the white-crested billows; He had raised
the dead to life. Now He declared that "all power" was given to Him. His words
carried the minds of His hearers above earthly and temporal things to the heavenly and
eternal. They were lifted to the highest conception of His dignity and glory.
Christ's words on the mountainside were the announcement that His sacrifice in behalf of
man was full and complete. The conditions of the atonement had been fulfilled; the work
for which He came to this world had been accomplished. He was on His way to the throne of
God, to be honored by angels, principalities, and powers. He had entered upon His
mediatorial work. Clothed with boundless authority, He gave His commission to the
disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations," "baptizing them into
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
world." Matt. 28:19, 20, R. V.
The Jewish people had been made the depositaries of sacred truth; but Pharisaism had made
them the most exclusive, the most bigoted, of
all the human race. Everything about the priests and rulers--their dress, customs,
ceremonies, traditions--made them unfit to be the light of the world. They looked upon
themselves, the Jewish nation, as the world. But Christ commissioned His disciples to
proclaim a faith and worship that would have in it nothing of caste or country, a faith
that would be adapted to all peoples, all nations, all classes of men.
Before leaving His disciples, Christ plainly stated the nature of His kingdom. He called
to their minds what He had previously told them concerning it. He declared that it was not
His purpose to establish in this world a temporal, but a spiritual kingdom. He was not to
reign as an earthly king on David's throne. Again He opened to them the Scriptures,
showing that all He had passed through had been ordained in heaven, in the councils
between the Father and Himself. All had been foretold by men inspired by the Holy Spirit.
He said, You see that all I have revealed to you concerning My rejection as the Messiah
has come to pass. All I have said in regard to the humiliation I should endure and the
death I should die, has been verified. On the third day I rose again. Search the
Scriptures more diligently, and you will see that in all these things the specifications
of prophecy concerning Me have been fulfilled.
Christ commissioned His disciples to do the work He had left in their hands, beginning at
Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been the scene of His amazing condescension for the human race.
There He had suffered, been rejected and condemned. The land of Judea was His birthplace.
There, clad in the garb of humanity, He had walked with men, and few had discerned how
near heaven came to the earth when Jesus was among them. At Jerusalem the work of the
disciples must begin.
In view of all that Christ had suffered there, and the unappreciated labor He had put
forth, the disciples might have pleaded for a more promising field; but they made no such
plea. The very ground where He had scattered the seed of truth was to be cultivated by the
disciples, and the seed would spring up and yield an abundant harvest. In their work the
disciples would have to meet persecution through the jealousy and hatred of the Jews; but
this had been endured by their Master, and they were not to flee from it. The first offers
of mercy must be made to the murderers of the Saviour.
And there were in Jerusalem many who had secretly believed on Jesus, and many who had been
deceived by the priests and rulers. To these also the gospel was to be presented. They
were to be called to repentance. The wonderful truth that through Christ alone could remission of sins be
obtained was to be made plain. While all Jerusalem was stirred by the thrilling events of
the past few weeks, the preaching of the gospel would make the deepest impression.
But the work was not to stop here. It was to be extended to the earth's remotest bounds.
To His disciples Christ said, You have been witnesses of My life of self-sacrifice in
behalf of the world. You have witnessed My labors for Israel. Although they would not come
unto Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done to Me as they
listed, although they have rejected Me as the Scriptures foretold, they shall have still
another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me,
confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out.
All who will, may be reconciled to God, and receive everlasting life. To you, My
disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to Israel first, and then to
all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews and Gentiles. All who believe
are to be gathered into one church.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their
testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by
the apostles, but by those who received their message. Jesus said, "In My name shall
they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and
if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover." Mark 16:17, 18.
At that time poisoning was often practiced. Unscrupulous men did not hesitate to remove by
this means those who stood in the way of their ambition. Jesus knew that the life of His
disciples would thus be imperiled. Many would think it doing God service to put His
witnesses to death. He therefore promised them protection from this danger.
The disciples were to have the same power which Jesus had to heal "all manner of
sickness and all manner of disease among the people." By healing in His name the
diseases of the body, they would testify to His power for the healing of the soul. Matt.
4:23; 9:6. And a new endowment was now promised. The disciples were to preach among other
nations, and they would receive power to speak other tongues. The apostles and their
associates were unlettered men, yet through the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of
Pentecost, their speech, whether in their own or a foreign language, became pure, simple,
and accurate, both in word and in accent.
Thus Christ gave His disciples their commission. He made full provision for the
prosecution of the work, and took upon Himself the responsibility for its success. So long
as they obeyed His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all
nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My
presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I
will forsake you.
The Saviour's commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all
believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of
saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. All to whom the heavenly inspiration
has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained
to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established,
and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with
"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come." Rev.
22:17. Everyone who hears is to repeat the invitation. Whatever one's calling in life, his
first interest should be to win souls for Christ. He may not be able to speak to
congregations, but he can work for individuals. To them he can communicate the instruction
received from his Lord. Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who
relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the
desponding and those of little faith. Nigh and afar off are souls weighed down by a sense
of guilt. It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity. It is guilt,
wrongdoing. This brings unrest and dissatisfaction. Christ would have His servants
minister to sin-sick souls.
The disciples were to begin their work where they were. The hardest and most unpromising
field was not to be passed by. So every one of Christ's workers is to begin where he is.
In our own families may be souls hungry for sympathy, starving for the bread of life.
There may be children to be trained for Christ. There are heathen at our very doors. Let
us do faithfully the work that is nearest. Then let our efforts be extended as far as
God's hand may lead the way. The work of many may appear to be restricted by
circumstances; but, wherever it is, if performed with faith and diligence it will be felt
to the uttermost parts of the earth. Christ's work when upon earth appeared to be confined
to a narrow field, but multitudes from all lands heard His message. God often uses the
simplest means to accomplish the greatest results. It is
His plan that every part of His work shall depend on every other part, as a wheel within a
wheel, all acting in harmony. The humblest worker, moved by the Holy Spirit, will touch
invisible chords, whose vibrations will ring to the ends of the earth, and make melody
through eternal ages.
But the command, "Go ye into all the world," is not to be lost sight of. We are
called upon to lift our eyes to the "regions beyond." Christ tears away the wall
of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human
family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He
abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no
difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. He teaches us to look
upon every needy soul as our brother, and the world as our field.
When the Saviour said, "Go, . . . teach all nations," He said also, "These
signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall
speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing,
it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
The promise is as far-reaching as the commission. Not that all the gifts are imparted to
each believer. The Spirit divides "to every man severally as He will." 1 Cor.
12:11. But the gifts of the Spirit are promised to every believer according to his need
for the Lord's work. The promise is just as strong and trustworthy now as in the days of
the apostles. "These signs shall follow them that believe." This is the
privilege of God's children, and faith should lay hold on all that it is possible to have
as an indorsement of faith.
"They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." This world is a vast
lazar house, but Christ came to heal the sick, to proclaim deliverance to the captives of
Satan. He was in Himself health and strength. He imparted His life to the sick, the
afflicted, those possessed of demons. He turned away none who came to receive His healing
power. He knew that those who petitioned Him for help had brought disease upon themselves;
yet He did not refuse to heal them. And when virtue from Christ entered into these poor
souls, they were convicted of sin, and many were healed of their spiritual disease, as
well as of their physical maladies. The gospel still possesses the same power, and why
should we not today witness the same results?
Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ
feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony. And He is
just as willing to heal the sick now as when He was personally on earth. Christ's servants
are His representatives, the channels for His working. He desires through them to exercise His
In the Saviour's manner of healing there were lessons for His disciples. On one occasion
He anointed the eyes of a blind man with clay, and bade him, "Go, wash in the pool of
Siloam. . . . He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." John 9:7. The
cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the
simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He
sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies.
To many of the afflicted ones who received healing, Christ said, "Sin no more, lest a
worse thing come unto thee." John 5:14. Thus He taught that disease is the result of
violating God's laws, both natural and spiritual. The great misery in the world would not
exist did men but live in harmony with the Creator's plan.
Christ had been the guide and teacher of ancient Israel, and He taught them that health is
the reward of obedience to the laws of God. The Great Physician who healed the sick in
Palestine had spoken to His people from the pillar of cloud, telling them what they must
do, and what God would do for them. "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of
the Lord thy God," He said, "and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and
wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these
diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that
healeth thee." Ex. 15:26. Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to
their habits of life, and He assured them, "The Lord will take away from thee all
sickness." Deut. 7:15. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified
to them. "There was not one feeble person among their tribes." Ps. 105:37.
These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve
health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance
in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God
for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul.
And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should
use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who
alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms
of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer. We should lay hold on
His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel
is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength.
The power of love was in all Christ's healing, and only by partaking of that love, through
faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine
connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from
us to the people. There were places where the Saviour Himself could not do many mighty
works because of their unbelief. So now unbelief separates the church from her divine
Helper. Her hold upon eternal realities is weak. By her lack of faith, God is
disappointed, and robbed of His glory.
It is in doing Christ's work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all
nations, He said; "and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world." To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The
very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord's commission.
To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no
active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.
Christ intends that His ministers shall be educators of the church in gospel work. They
are to teach the people how to seek and save the lost. But is this the work they are
doing? Alas, how many are toiling to fan the spark of life in a church that is ready to
die! How many churches are tended like sick lambs by those who ought to be seeking for the
lost sheep! And all the time millions upon millions without Christ are perishing.
Divine love has been stirred to its unfathomable depths for the sake of men, and angels
marvel to behold in the recipients of so great love a mere surface gratitude. Angels
marvel at man's shallow appreciation of the love of God. Heaven stands indignant at the
neglect shown to the souls of men. Would we know how Christ regards it? How would a father
and mother feel, did they know that their child, lost in the cold and the snow, had been
passed by, and left to perish, by those who might have saved it? Would they not be
terribly grieved, wildly indignant? Would they not denounce those murderers with wrath hot
as their tears, intense as their love? The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of
God's child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings
provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb. To those who claim fellowship
with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare
in the great Judgment day, "I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye
workers of iniquity." Luke 13:27.
In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them
their message. Teach the people, He said, "to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you." The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had
spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old
Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition,
for man's theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by
ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ's
servants to teach. "The law and the prophets," with the record of His own words
and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ's
name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority
for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear
His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom.
The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change
the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power.
Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He
imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and
sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would
have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess
Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would
have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are
reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters.
In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the
matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most
alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in
the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to
present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will
melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing.
"Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God." "O Zion, that bringest
good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings,
lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah,
Behold your God! . . . He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs
with His arm, and carry them in His bosom." Isa. 40:1, 9-11.
Tell the people of Him who is "the Chiefest among ten thousand," and the One
"altogether lovely." The Song of Solomon 5:10, 16. Words alone cannot tell it.
Let it be reflected in the character and manifested in the life. Christ is sitting for His
portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be "conformed to the
image of His Son." Rom. 8:29. In every one Christ's long-suffering love, His
holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world.
The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives.
And the Lord worked with them, "confirming the word with signs following." Mark
16:20. These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost
they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed
Christ's promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not
ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the
salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and
they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy
Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.
So it may be now. Instead of man's speculations, let the word of God be preached. Let
Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the
lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the
Spirit in apostolic days was the "former rain," and glorious was the result. But
the "latter rain" will be more abundant. Joel 2:23.
All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new
endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their
command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The
Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God
enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes
to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are
complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of
The Saviour longs to manifest His grace and stamp His character on the whole world. It is
His purchased possession, and He desires to make men free, and pure, and holy. Though
Satan works to hinder this purpose, yet through the blood shed for the world there are
triumphs to be achieved that will bring glory to God and the Lamb. Christ will not be
satisfied till the victory is complete, and "He shall see of the travail
of His soul, and shall be satisfied." Isa. 53:11. All the nations of the earth shall
hear the gospel of His grace. Not all will receive His grace; but "a seed shall serve
Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." Ps. 22:30. "The
kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be
given to the people of the saints of the Most High," and "the earth shall be
full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." "So shall they
fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun."
Dan. 7:27; Isa. 11:9; 59:19.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that
saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! . . . Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste
places: . . . for the Lord hath comforted His people. . . . The Lord hath made bare His
holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the
salvation of our God." Isa. 52:7-10.
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