And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission Explained

We need to remember that Jesus gave all his disciples this commission right after he paid the price for our sin, and rose again on the third day–to prove he defeated sin and death on our behalf. In this text, we see him commissioning his disciples and every disciple who puts their faith and trust in him before he ascended back to the right hand of the Father. This truth is why many theologians call this text the Great Commission.

How does the Coronavirus impact the way current disciples carry out the Great Commission? After all, many of us are confined to our homes in order to prevent the spread of the virus and to restrain overloading the health care system. Therefore, I will argue that it doesn’t impact our mission, but does impact our methods.

To begin, we should be comforted to know two truths Jesus tells us in his commission: 1) Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and 2) Jesus promises to be with us “always.” As believers, the Coronavirus should not scare us because as the text asserts: 1) Jesus has dominion over this virus, and 2) when we continue to advance the gospel during this global pandemic, we do so knowing he is with us wherever we are and go.

Notice in this text that our gospel witness is sandwiched between Christ’s power and his presence. His power and his presence give each believer confidence to share the gospel with our neighbors, community, and the globe–even in times of a viral crisis.

Carrying out the Great Commission During the Coronavirus

Once we understand that the Great Commission is sandwiched between Christ’s power and presence, we are in a better position to share the gospel during this season of uncertainty. Believer, just because we are in a global pandemic does not mean that our witness must be put on hold nor does it mean that we should not use biblical wisdom in how to go about sharing Christ with others. Our church history helps us to think through both aspects of being a biblically discerning gospel witness.

Our church history reveals that believers still took care of the sick and vulnerable even to the detriment of their own health. However, our history shows us that they didn’t engage in foolish activity to bring about an early death. I think we need to have a balance between both extremes in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We can help people in their time of need by dropping things off at their doorsteps, giving them some toilet paper, or mowing their grass. These activities allow us to help the sick and vulnerable while simultaneously practicing social distancing.

While the church can take care of the needs of others in some of the ways listed above, one question we should be asking is “How can we continue to share the gospel with our families, and neighbors in obedience to the Great Commission?” Here are four ways to share the gospel during social distancing to help us think through an answer to that question:

  1. Call them on the phone. This form of communication seems to be nearly archaic in a world of texting, emailing, and Facebook messaging. Nevertheless, a phone call allows you to connect with others on a more personal level. Call people in your neighborhood to check in on them, and ask them how you can pray for them or if you can share a message of hope with them. Then, openly share the good news of Jesus Christ.
  2. Setup an online face-to-face meeting. We live in a technologically advanced society. We have the ability to use platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangout to connect with people in an online community forum. This allows you some time to see each other and to build relationships without being in close proximity. During this session, make a point to either pray with or share the good news of Jesus Christ with the person on the other end of your computer.
  3. Write and email. Email is another great way to communicate with others quickly and efficiently and still practice social distancing. Write an email to your neighbor, family member, or friend. Tell them about how this social distancing is impacting your life in a positive way. Maybe you can attach a picture of what you and your family have been up to these last few days. At some point in your email, share your testimony or just share the good news outright. Be sure to include at the end of your testimony or gospel presentation a sentence that says something like, “If you would like to know more about how you can put your faith in Jesus Christ, email me back and we can setup a time to talk via phone or on an online face-to-face platform” (see points 1 and 2 above).
  4. Publish a testimonial. The internet is filled with people giving their thoughts and advice about what is taking place in our country during this global pandemic. Why not join the growing online movement by posting a video of your testimony for people to see? The internet has distanced us, but in this season of viral pandemic, pretty much everyone is online. Two great advantages to an online testimonial is that while you are not online your video can still be viewed, and this means, number two, you can reach more people for Christ. Be sure to add something at the end of your testimonial about how you would be willing to talk more about you testimony and what Christ has done for you if they desire or that you can help them find a local church in their area to connect them with if they live far away.

Concluding Thoughts

Just because we have been advised not to leave our homes to help flatten the viral curve, does not mean that we have been advised to stop obeying the Great Commission. In fact, we can still fulfill the mission God has given us by thinking of creative ways to share the gospel where we are and by using the technology God has given to us. In all reality, now is one of the best times to share the gospel because many people are worried and afraid. What better time to share the only hope this world has, God’s one and only Son–Jesus Christ? As Jesus’s words started this blog, I think it only appropriate that his Great Commission should also end it.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

What are some other creative ways we can share the gospel during this time of social distancing? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

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