Have You Caught Jesus’ Viral Commission?
Can you imagine what the world wide impact would be, if the practice of disciple making (spiritual multiplication) went ‘viral?’ We currently find ourselves in a position to see the full impact of what happens when a viral disease is unleashed around the world. Its explosive and expansive nature is not only exponential in spread, but the results of its contagion can actually be measured. We are learning to trace how people catch the virus and perhaps, just as accurately, how the virus catches people!
Shortly before his ascension, Jesus released his followers to be disciple multipliers. Their impact on the world was to go ‘viral’ in connecting with others so that, in turn, those affected by the gospel message would become committed to Jesus. His plan for the world he came to ‘seek and save,’ would see an ‘infectious’ outworking of his message of love. It would leave a legacy of those who carried a ‘commission contagion’ that would not only turn hearts towards their heavenly Father, but also would forever change the experience of living in this world.
Unfortunately, throughout the centuries, ‘social distancing’ has occurred in the posture adopted by many in the world toward the Christian message. Many have no desire to associate with those who call themselves Christ followers. To them, Christians seem judgemental and bound by religious regulations. Subsequently, they ‘distance themselves’ from those entrusted with the commission to ‘go into all the world and make disciples.’ I personally don’t believe people have lost interest in a God of Love, nor the gospel message. They simply don’t see it displayed in the current iteration of church experience and cultural impact.
On the flip side, those in the church have socially distanced themselves from the world. While the Bible tells us to ‘be in, but not of the world,’ we have failed to remain ‘in’ the world as an ongoing witness to the grace and love of Jesus. To make matters worse, when a person finds a relationship with Jesus, those in the church have traditionally ‘extracted’ the new believer from their social circles, and kept them busy with their new Christian family within church programming. In this manner we have distanced ourselves from the world, arresting the natural outworking of the ‘viral commission’ to those most closely connected to new believers.
The sad state of affairs in the average local church, is that we have failed to catch the ‘commission virus.’ Historically, the words of mandate Jesus endowed upon the disciples, as recorded in Matt 28:19-20, have been termed the ‘Great Commission.’ What would happen if we changed the inflection of that phrase to read… the ‘Viral Commission’, or the ‘Commission Virus.’
According to Sciencealert.com, it is important to understand that not all viruses are bad, nor are they destructive. A variety of viruses actually protect humans against infection from other diseases. For example, some viruses can help human natural killer cells identify cancer cells and cells infected by other pathogenic viruses. They arm the natural killer cells with antigens that will enable them to identify and eradicate tumour cells. Living with a chronic form of leukemia myself, could it be that a virus in my body could actually turn back the progression of the disease of cancer within me? If so… bring it on!
We all appreciate the connotation, ‘it went viral,’ on YouTube. It is here that home grown videos can be viewed by millions within a very short period of time. Wasn’t this the very genius in our Lord’s approach that our home-grown Christ centered lifestyles are to have the same impact in a world-wide reality. With the reach of social media, there isn’t any reason we can’t influence others for Jesus around the world. Think of that!
Let’s face it, when life gets back to normal, it won’t return to the ‘good old days’ we left behind just a few months ago. The opportunity before us is to chart a new course… a viral commission course, that will use the new means of social media, and acts of goodwill to, as it were, infect others with the Love of God. And that’s all we’re called to be and to do. God, through His Spirit, will take it from there!
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also, you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
Rev. Dr. Tim Beadle
Join in the conversation with Tim: firstname.lastname@example.org