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
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 unbelief.
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,
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
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
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 Christ.
"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
"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 healing power.
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
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
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."
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 Omnipotence.
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.