When a bacterium or virus becomes capable of spreading widely and rapidly, when the outbreak is of global proportions, a pandemic is declared. While an epidemic remains limited to a city, region, or country, a pandemic spreads beyond those borders, the infection becoming so widespread that several countries are affected concurrently. In March of 2020, we would all face the Covid pandemic, a dark moment in time that would devastate economies, overwhelm health systems, and snuff out the lives of the most vulnerable among us. As we found ourselves attempting to adjust to the new normal thrust upon us, rarely used vocabulary words would be added to our daily vernacular, one such word being the dreaded mandate.
A mandate is an official order or commission to follow a specific directive; it is an authoritative command, instruction, or decree. And my, oh my, have we been bombarded by mandates, breeding some of the most heated debates in recent history. Never before have I witnessed such a toxic social atmosphere, as debate participants take their stand and defend their stance for or against a particular mandate with energetic fervor, unbridled emotion, intense zeal, and sadly, often unkind and unguarded words. Oh. that we as Christians would devote half of that energy obeying and defending one of the greatest mandates ever declared by the ultimate Ruler.
It has been said that last words are lasting words, and that theory embodies the final utterance of the Lord Jesus Christ while upon earth, as He imparted His marching orders to His disciples and ultimately to us before ascending back to His Father. That urgent mandate is none other than the Great Commission. Each of the four Gospel accounts of our Shepherd’s life records this mandate given to His church. And to drive that message home, that mandate also opens the narrative of the well-documented record of the early church, the Book of Acts.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, (Matthew)” ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel, (Mark)” “…and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached…among the nations, (Luke)” ” …as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you…,(John)” and finally, “ye shall be witnesses of me…unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts)” Not a suggestion, not open to debate or discussion, a direct mandate from our Savior, the Creator of the universe, the great I Am, and that mandate is to take the gift that has been bestowed graciously upon us by faith in the Lamb of God and share that gift with the world around us.
Our planet IS in the midst of a pandemic, and that pandemic is sin. We most certainly live in “perilous times,” a moment in world history when we find that mankind has devolved into “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” We have all been infected by the curse of sin, and the consequence of that sin is death. But we, His followers, have the cure; we hold the lifeline; we know the Shepherd Who seeks, saves, and heals.
As I listen to brothers and sisters debate the mandates and orders handed down by an earthly government, my heart is saddened, for Satan has successfully distracted us from our true mandate, the charge to offer hope, grace, love, and peace to a world which finds itself so needy and wanting. God forgive me for my flippant attitude toward the task of spreading the Gospel to a sin-sickened world. Help Your children, in these confusing, stressful times, to realize the power that we possess. As angels declared the glad tidings of Your birth in that manger so many centuries ago, we have been given the mandate to declare your sacrificial death, burial, and triumphant resurrection to our infected planet. Help us to keep our eyes open for opportunities to share the life-giving gift of salvation to those who cross our paths. And may we always be ready “to give an answer to every man that asketh…a reason of the hope that is in (us) with meekness and fear.”
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judeaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3429-650c09a9826d1' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3429&origin=_bimi.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3429-650c09a9826d1' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3429-650c09a9826d1' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>