Go Teach All Nations
[This chapter is based on Matt. 28:16-20.]
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
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
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, 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
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
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
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 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 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 natural
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
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
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
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
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
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. 52:7-10.
[ Back ] [ Up ] [ Next ]