I don’t know any more inspiring missionary promise than this word of Jesus:
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.
Not: This gospel should be preached.
Not: This gospel might be preached.
But: This gospel will be preached.
This is not a great commission, nor a great commandment. It is a great certainty, a great confidence.
Who can dare talk like that? How does he know it will? How can he be sure the church will not fail in its missionary task?
Answer: The grace of missionary service is as irresistible as the grace of regeneration. Christ can promise universal proclamation because he is sovereign. He knows the future success of missions because he makes the future. All the nations will hear!
A “nation” is not a modern “country.” When the Old Testament spoke of nations it referred to groups like Jebusites and Perizites and Hivites and Amorites and Moabites and Canaanites and Philistines, etc. “Nations” are ethnic groups with their own peculiar culture.
Jesus lived with the Old Testament and no doubt cherished words like these:
Psalm 22:27 – “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before thee.”
Psalm 67:12 – “May God be gracious to us…that thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving power among all the nations.”
Psalm 72:11, 17 – “May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him…May men bless themselves by him, all nations call him blessed!”
Psalm 82:8 – “Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations!”
Psalm 86:9 – “All the nations thou hast made shall come and bow down before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name.”
Psalm 117:1 – “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!”
As the sovereign Son of God and Lord of the church, Jesus simply took up this divine purpose and stated as an absolute certainty: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations.”
The cause of world missions is absolutely assured of success. It cannot fail. Is it not reasonable, then, that we pray with great faith, that we invest with great confidence, and that we go with a sense of sure triumph?
Your seed planter,