“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (verse 14)
Even while speaking about the end of the age, when he himself will come again, Jesus has his sights set on the mission for which he first entered the world. To seek and to save the lost. It’s in his heart. It’s what he wants to see accomplished. And it will indeed be accomplished before the end. We’ve got his word on it.
When confronted by Zaccheus, the wealthy chief tax collector, up a tree, desperately trying to get even a glimpse of the Master, Jesus told him to come down immediately so he could visit with him in his home. The onlooking crowd muttered its disapproval, but Zaccheus responded with repentance, and Jesus declared that salvation had come to his house that day. He then reiterated his ongoing mission: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). It was what compelled him.
“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached …”
When confronted by the Canaanite woman who sought healing for her demon-possessed daughter, Jesus said clearly, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). The Jewish people were his first priority and the primary focus of his ministry. Even so, he went on to heal the woman’s daughter, responding to her “great faith.” It was a sighting of the bigger picture which he always had in mind. Indeed, the Apostle John captured it when he reported Jesus’ statement: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). The whole world was in his sights, right from the start – indeed, before the start.
“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations …”
So, it is no surprise when later, as his final command to his disciples, he speaks these words: “Go and make disciples of all nations”(Matthew 28:19). It’s what he’s always had in his heart. The Gentiles (the “nations”), as well as the Jews, are included in his mission.
But further, it is no surprise that he has ensured this work will be fully accomplished before “the end will come.” The work is crucial. He wants it completed. And so even as he speaks with his disciples about that hope-filled future day of his second coming, he doesn’t want them to lose sight of this life-saving mission. He wants the lost to be found.
It is our mission, too. The certainty of his second coming is meant to propel us with further passion to see it accomplished. May it be.
Lord Jesus, you are the Coming King – every eye will see you, every tongue confess, and every knee bow. But before that great day, your passion is that many, many more may be saved alive into your kingdom. Lord, may it be. May the lost be found. To your glory. Amen.
Reflect: Look around. Who do you know that still needs to be found by Jesus’ rescuing love? Enter into Jesus’ own mission by praying for their salvation.