After His death and resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples an expansive assignment, often called the Great Commission. He told them to preach the gospel to everyone in the world, and He promised to bless everyone who believed in Him. Here is the commission, as recorded by Matthew and by Mark:
|Matthew 28:19-20||Mark 16:15-18|
|Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:|
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
|And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.|
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
At about this same time, Jesus gave the same assignment to a group of His disciples on the American continent. In Moroni’s account, the Savior’s words were identical to the version recorded by Mark, with the following addition:
And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.Mormon 9:25
I can imagine that message giving Moroni confidence as he promised all of his future readers that God would confirm to them the truth of his words. (See Moroni 10:3-5.)
At least seven times in modern revelation, the Lord reaffirmed this assignment. (See Doctrine and Covenants 18:28-29, 58:64, 68:8-10, 80:1, 84:62-72, 112:28-29, 124:98-99, 128.) A couple of text variants in these passages are noteworthy:
- In one of these passages, the Lord acknowledged that this assignment would require the collective effort of many individuals: “Go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:62).
- Instead of taking up deadly serpents and not being harmed, William Law was promised the following sign: “He shall be led in paths where the poisonous serpent cannot lay hold upon his heel” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:99).
President Dallin H. Oaks has reaffirmed that this assignment applies to us today: “All Christians are under these commands to share the gospel with everyone,” he said.
President Oaks gave a number of specific suggestions to help us in fulfilling this commission. Here are some of those suggestions:
- Pray for the desire to share the gospel.
- Pray to know what we can personally do, and then act on the inspiration we receive.
- Remember that “people learn when they’re ready to learn, not when we’re ready to teach them.” Talk about what they are interested in, not what we want them to be interested in.
- “Remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel is preferable to an invitation to learn more about our Church. We want people to be converted to the gospel.”
- Share with everyone, not just people we know.
(Dallin H. Oaks, “Sharing the Restored Gospel,” General Conference, October 2016)
Today, I will look for more opportunities to share the gospel. I will remember that the Savior expects His disciples to bless the lives of God’s children by sharing His teachings with everyone.