UNDERSTANDING the SCOPE of our COMMISSION: And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts 26:15-18)
Apostle Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus (9:1–19) was so important to him that he recounted it twice, once before the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem (22:6–16), and again before this mainly pagan audience in Caesarea. Here Paul gives a condensed summary of the commission which was given him by the risen Lord Jesus Christ. He had had this special revelation of Christ in glory because he was appointed to be a servant of the Lord and a witness of all he had seen that day along with all the great truths of the Christian faith.
Paul was sent especially to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, they would receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified. H. K. Downie shows how verse 18 reveals four things what the gospel does in the lives of people:
- It relieves from darkness.
- It releases from the power of Satan.
- It remits sins.
- It restores a lost inheritance.
Paul understood Christ’s commissioning to mean that the Gentiles’ salvation depended on his presenting the gospel to them. No wonder he felt as though he was charged with a debt to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:14). These people were not saved prior to the hearing of the gospel; they needed to hear the message of salvation from one like Paul.
Paul was totally committed to his call to spread the gospel and establish churches throughout the known world. The gospel itself is forever the same, but as Christ’s followers we are called to shape our message to fit our various audiences. Let us understand the scope of our commission, which is similar to Paul, and make sincere attempts to preach the gospel to the lost people around us and also send others with our prayers and financial support!
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:12-15)