And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Mark 13, verse 10.
Awhile back, my pastor friend, Mark, was talking about the end. He mentioned that he DOESN’T think we are nearing the end of time because the Gospel of Jesus – the good news that Jesus is God and forgives all sin and died as God’s only perfect atoning sacrifice specifically to redeem us – hasn’t been preached to all nations. Despite all the new media, instant worldwide communications, and efforts to preach Jesus to billions of people in every language we know, he contends that the gospel still hasn’t been preached to all nations. There could be (and likely are) hundreds of millions of our fellow humans who haven’t heard about Jesus, who haven’t been given the introduction to Him.
I agree with Mark.
Now, I won’t speak for my friend but I will say I don’t think he’s a millenialist, a believer in the Rapture and Tim LaHaye/”Left Behind” kind of apocalypse. I think my friend is a typical Lutheran, stressing “be ready now” because we’re part of eternity now. No matter how much we debate how the world will end, Jesus promised it would end and that He would return to bring about eternity.
Yet, here and now, on this earth, believers in Jesus are already sealed as part of His eternity, already a part of heaven. We’re finishing our time here and, yes, determining post-terra firma implications to our eternity by what we say, believe and confess. But Jesus has already done everything necessary to make possible and guarantee our eternal destiny. He promised that we would be with Him, that God would accept us believing sinners on behalf of His sacrifice, because of His grace and love. No matter whether or not there’s a Rapture and all that follows, the best lesson we can teach about “the end” is “be ready for it now.” “Don’t wait; believe and follow Jesus now and be ready if He returns now, millennially or otherwise.”
Keep in mind where this verse is said. It’s said at the temple just days, even hours, before Jesus will be arrested and unjustly murdered. The verse itself comes right between other verses that talk about the end times, about watching for signs and standing up for Jesus despite being persecuted. That matters.
It matters because, here, Jesus is reminding us why He came, why He matters. He is the good news; Jesus is the reason for the Gospel. Preaching and sharing Him with the world is why He came. He wants that to be done because He loves ALL people of all races and nationalities and colors. Jesus wants all men and women to be in communion with Him forever and He was reminding His followers that, before the end of time is brought about, He wants all people to be given the opportunity to follow Him. So, smack-dab in the middle of telling His friends that they need to watch out and look for signs that (He said) will point to the end of time, Jesus reminds them that the purpose of time is to allow us to share Him with each other. To bring more believers into Jesus’ eternity.
No matter what you believe about how the world will end, that’s a great first principle to always keep in mind.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your words about eternity. Thank You for using me to share You with folks who might not know You.
Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.