We’ve heard a lot lately about the importance of going out to spread the Gospel. Indeed, in Acts 1:8, Jesus told the disciples to wait until they received the Spirit then go out into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth to spread the news. Put into terms that normal people understand, that means locally, in your general area, in your region, then all over the place. We are to go out and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit1. Naturally, you’ll have to talk to them in a way they understand. That’s why mission trips to foreign countries are equipped with translators.
I would, however, like to share with you a counter-example from our Lord himself. Turn to Matthew 13:10-13:17. Why did Jesus speak in parables? So his audience wouldn’t understand. He had just explained the ways in which people receive the word2 and was about describe the kingdom of God in seven interesting ways3. Were these things unimportant? Hardly. Then why would our Lord want people to be in the dark?
Well, back up a chapter and consider Matthew 12:22-12:45. The Pharisees were in a snit and accused Jesus of being a servant of Satan. What Christ did by the power of the Spirit, they attributed to Beelzebub. After that, Jesus spoke only in parables when in public4.
The obvious question is why? I mean, if He was here to seek and save the lost5, then why would he be deliberately cryptic? That seems counter-intuitive to his goal, does it not? Would you believe it’s a strange sort of mercy?
You see, there are different degrees of condemnation6. The more truth you receive and reject, the worse off you are. So, by speaking in brain-warping parables, Jesus spoke to the masses in a way they would not understand. Therefore, they do not receive more truth than they already have and do not receive the greater condemnation. At a later time, however, He explained the parables to His disciples when they were “offline,” so to speak, so they could understand and spread the word. We could read it and follow along.
Now, armed with that example, that means we should avoid sharing Christ with someone in case they’ll reject it and receive the greater condemnation. Right? BZZT! Sorry, wrong answer.
Jesus had one major advantage that we do not have. He, being fully God, sees the end from the beginning. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him7. Jesus knew ahead of time who would hear and accept the Gospel and who would be offended by it then chalk His miracles up to Satan. We are not that fortunate. We cannot tell the tares from the wheat8. Consequently, the best thing we can do is spread the word far and wide in case someone out there does receive it and come to accept the gift of the Lord.
So, spread the word in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth9. Your Jerusalem is your neighborhood, the people you have immediate contact with. Your Judea is your workplace, where you get groceries, anywhere you contact people who don’t live in your area. Samaria is the region you live in. If you want to think of that as Texas or the United States, that’s probably a good start. The uttermost parts of the earth are everywhere outside that. If you can’t play, support someone who can. Do something to get the word out there.
I leave you with one last thought. Are you saved? If you are, that’s great. What are you doing with it? Or in other words, “What on Earth are you doing for Heaven’s sake10?”
1 Matthew 28:19
2 Matthew 13:3-13:8
3 Matthew 13:24-13:52
4 Matthew 13:34
5 Luke 19:10
6 2 Peter 2:18-2:22, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12-10:14; Missler, Chuck. Heaven and Hell Briefing Pack. Koinonia House.
7 John 10:14
8 Matthew 13:29
9 Acts 1:8
10 Hovind, Kent. Creation Seminar. Creation Science Evangelism.