The people of Capernaum were clamouring for Jesus to stay with them. Jesus was just beginning His public ministry, and He amazed the people. He taught with authority. He cast out an unclean spirit. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law. (So much for the idea that Peter was not married.) As the day came to a close, Mark 1:32–33 records, “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door.”
Everyone wanted to be near Jesus. Peter told Him, “All men seek for thee” (Mark 1:37). But notice His response at the height of His popularity: “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth” (Mark 1:38). He was always looking beyond. His Gospel was not meant for a few; it was for everyone.
The Lord Jesus Christ had the entire world in mind when He left Heaven and came to earth as the God-man. Even though His primary ministry on earth was to the Jewish people, His teaching clearly indicates that He includes all humanity in His great plan.
Jesus is described in Hebrews 7:26 as “holy, harmless, undefiled, seperate from sinners,” but He did not isolate Himself from sinners. He ate with tax collectors, spoke with sinful women, healed the servant of a Gentile, and cast out demons from those who were possessed. It is obvious He had a love for all men.
Christ’s purpose for coming to earth wasn’t a secret. He said Himself, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). We were all lost, and we all needed to be saved. Jesus uprooted Himself from Heaven’s throne to shed His royal blood on Calvary. He became the sacrifice that satisfies the payment to God for the sins of the whole world. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
But are we willing to be uprooted from our homes and comforts to be rooted in Christ’s plan for redemption? Christ’s post-Resurrection ministry leaves no room to question that worldwide evangelism is rooted in Christ:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
“Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46–47).
“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).
Churches fulfill many functions, but many have completely forgotten or choose to ignore their primary purpose. Much less than 10 percent of all money given for Christian ministries is given for non-English speaking ministries. Even while churches know that it is important to send and support missionaries, the average Baptist gives less than $1 per week for world evangelization. We may have knowledge of what needs to be done, but our hearts are not rooted in this purpose. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
While there is a great need to support missionaries, God has called many to be missionaries in foreign fields. Every year in summer camps, revivals, and mission conferences, hundreds of young people express the belief that God has called them to missions. But from my experience, only one out of a hundred will actually go. Let me suggest that the sins of the flesh—pride, prejudice, materialism, erroneous thinking, selfishness, unconcern, and prayerlessness—prevent those who have been called from going.
What would happen if each of us would ask God to show us individually what is keeping us from being totally involved in His primary mission? What would a church look like if its people held loosely to roots of convenience and dug deep into Christ? Some have a part to give so that the work can continue. Others will personally start works in foreign fields. Most Christians say that one day they will be totally involved. God must be asking, “When?”