Thursday, January 28, 2010

Persecution, Judgment, All Nations, and the Great Commission

Toward the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus mentions "all nations" or "all the nations" on four different occasions:

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake." Matthew 24:9 (emphasis added)

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14

"All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats." Matthew 25:32

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20

As we read these passages, it is important to keep in mind that the same person spoke them all (Jesus). The same person also wrote them all (Matthew). The same wording, "all nations," is used in them all (it's the same in the Greek as well as the English). Because of this, we can draw some conclusions:

First, followers of Jesus will face persecution and be hated by all nations.
Second, followers of Jesus are to proclaim the gospel to all nations.
Third, all the nations will face the final judgment.
Fourth, followers of Jesus are to make disciples of all nations.

It seems that Jesus, in giving us these statements, is also providing His followers with this overall conclusion: Despite the the persecution and hatred we will face from the nations, we are to nonetheless go to them proclaiming the gospel and making disciples, being motivated by the reality of the final judgment.

Like Jesus, we need to go to those who hate us and tell them the good news.


Joe Blackmon said...

This, in some ways, is a scary commandment when thinking about some parts of the world. You want me to go spread the gospel somewhere where they kill and lock up Christians?? Our church goes over to Russia on short term mission trips and, while I haven't heard of much persecution over there, the idea has occured to me "What if you went over there and never made it back?" I don't know what we'd do in America if we were ever hit with some real persecution, ya know.

Eric said...


Sometimes I think the American church would benefit a great deal from some persecution. At least we would know who the real Christians are. Of course, persecution is a little scary; I don't know how much I would like it personally.

Aussie John said...


Good article!

Sadly, much persecution of genuine followers of Christ comes from "good upstanding" members of churches.

Eric said...


Thanks for that reminder; it's all too true.