The Great Commission is a general command given to the church at large. As individuals, however, Jesus doesn’t ask us to do more than we are freely willing to do. He’s not a “guilt trip” Savior. But He does ask us to consider what’s next for the sake of the Gospel.
- First, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” And Peter followed. (Matthew 4:18-22)
- Next … Peter saw Jesus walking on water and he wanted to walk on water, too. So Jesus said to him “Come,” and Peter got out of the boat. (Matthew 14:22-33)
- Next … Jesus asked Peter “Who do people say that I am?” and Peter answered “You are the Christ, the only Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:13-20)
- Next … The risen Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me more than your life?” And Peter said “Yes, Lord you know that I love you.” And Jesus said “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15-19)
- Next … Peter, in the power of the Holy Spirit, rose up on Pentecost and gave the first Gospel message. 5,000 people got saved. (Acts 2)
- Next … Peter was commanded by the religious leaders not to preach about Jesus. Peter said “We ought to obey God rather than man.” He was beaten for this and then released. He preached about Jesus the next day. (Acts 5:17-42)
- Next … Peter was to be crucified. His request was to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified right-side up like Jesus.
Jesus didn’t walk up to Peter when they first met and say “Hey Peter, are you willing to go and get crucified upside down for my glory today?” Jesus only asked him to take the next step. And step-by-step, Peter became the bold, faithful and fearless leader of the first church.
The Great Commission is a great, big call. Jesus commands the church to go and save everyone, everywhere. That’s big. But sometimes the big thing can eclipse the next thing.
I assume you’re probably not being faced with a “martyr’s choice” today. The next step in your evangelism call is probably not that dramatic. It could be that your next thing is to invite a co-worker to lunch. Or have the neighbors over. Or send a support gift to a missionary. Or read a biography of great evangelists and missionaries of the past. Or go on a short-term mission’s trip. Whatever it is, it’s the next thing. And that’s the thing to do.
Maybe the next thing is to pray a prayer like this:
Lord, my greatest desire is that all people – near and far – would know your name and receive your love. Show me my next step in making that vision more of a reality today. – Amen!