Movies often portray family and friends leaning in with bated breath to hear the last mutterings of their loved ones on their death bed. Why is this? It’s because a person’s “last words” can be their most profound. They might use the opportunity to issue a blessing or request to those they are leaving behind or to communicate a truth they have been afraid to share.
Although Jesus ascended into Heaven instead of dying here on Earth, His last earthly words are still important, even more so, than deathbed proclamations from mere men.
Just before Jesus ascended, He gave an all-important message to His followers found in Matthew 28: 16-20:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The command Jesus issued to the disciples present at the time and all the believers who would come after, more commonly known as the Great Commission, is still valid today. Although it might be hard to believe, even in today’s modern age, there are people who have never heard of the name of Jesus. This proves the Great Commission isn’t being fulfilled. The Alliance for the Unreached ‘s spokesman Wayne Pederson says its even worse than that. They claim some third of all humanity will likely die without ever hearing the message of Jesus. This is of course unless churches step up the plate and do something about the issue.
“Out of seven billion people on planet Earth, I think it’s 3.2 billion people, which is about 40% of the population, have no opportunity to hear the gospel where they live, in their location,” Pederson told CBN News.
This stat should be heartbreaking for believers. Imagining millions of people dying without ever having a chance is tragic. Thankfully, the International Day of the Unreached was created as a way to rally churches and ministries together in an increased focus on the unreached.
This year’s installment fell on Sunday, May 20th. The date correlated with Pentecost Sunday, which is when the Holy Spirit fell upon Christ’s followers, encouraging them to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing the message of Jesus with the world.
A promotional video created by the International Day of the Unreached organization says that churches presently spend very little time or money reaching the unreached. The video states this heartbreaking fact, “On average, the Church spends less than one percent on reaching the unreached. Do we care? Does it break our hearts? Does it motivate us, unite us, to take action?”
The Great Commission, as discussed earlier, are the words of Jesus imploring believers to reach out to others and tell all who will listen about the holy promise of eternal life. Statistics show that American churchgoers are not making the fulfillment of the Great Commission a priority. This could be because they aren’t aware of what the Great Commission even is, according to Pederson. A new poll surveying American churchgoers found, “Over 50% did not know how to answer when asked ‘What is the Great Commission?”
This year’s International Day of the Unreached featured the correlation of 11 separate ministries, as well a Facebook Live feed and World Mission’s yearly efforts to place 40,000 solar-powered Bibles in the hands of millions.
The Alliance and Pederson hope many spiritual leaders, teachers, and pastors will use the resource page provided on the organization’s site to mark the International Day for the Unreached in their own congregations on Sunday, May 20th. The hope is this focus on the unreached will educate believers all across America on what the Great Commission means and create a greater focus on its fulfillment.
~ 1776 Christian