How True It Is
Fulfilling the Great Commission is connected to the Greatest Commandment. Jesus commissions his followers to make disciples of all the nations. To go to every nation, tribe, and tongue with the good news.
Obedience to this can be done, I guess, out of a sense of obligation. That might lead someone to take a mission trip just to check it off their spiritual to-do list. But it doesn’t really work that way over the long haul, does it?
Enter the greatest commandment. When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus answered this way:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37–39
Jesus says we should love God with everything in every way. We do that because God loved us first. One aspect of love for God is an appreciation of His creation. All of his creation. All the races. All the cultures. All the peoples.
And the love that God has poured into our hearts is supposed to spill over into a love for our neighbor. Jesus also clarified who our neighbor is for us. The Good Samaritan story (a story about crossing cultures and loving people of other races) was his answer to that question. So God’s love in us produces a love for our neighbors. All our neighbors. All the races. All the cultures. All the peoples.
This is what we have been pointing students to for the last 20 years — God’s heart for all peoples. We are training students and pointing them to the truth of God’s word. We are showing them God’s overwhelming love for every group of people on the planet. This is way bigger than taking mission trips. This is about training a generation to see the world through the eyes of Jesus, and to engage the world through that lens.
One of our many prayers for this generation is that they would come to understand what Peter did in Acts 10 at Cornelius’ house:
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34-35
How true it is. God does not show favoritism. He loves us all.
This is the gospel message. This is the good news we live, carry, and proclaim. Jesus has abolished the dividing wall of hostility. Let’s love God and love our neighbor with this truth as our guide. Across the street. Across the tracks. Across the world.