Where Is the World Jesus Directs Us to “Go” Into?

Where Is the World Jesus Directs Us to “Go” Into? October 4, 2023

Open Bible with US passport sitting on top of it
An open Bible sits with a passport on top symbolizing the reader’s readiness to go into all the world as Jesus commanded. [Courtesy unsplash.com by Lydia Matzal.]
While the Great Commission Jesus gave His followers in Mark 16:15 is seemingly straightforward, it does raise a thorny question. Where is the world He requires Christians to go into? Must believers leave the comfort of home to travel to faraway, exotic locations to spread the Good News? Did Jesus mean “all the world” literally?

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus voiced some marching orders. And I mean “orders” literally. Jesus gave a command, not a friendly suggestion. Mark 16:15 tells us He expressly told His followers to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” The imperative leaves no doubt Christians must go. But where?

Jesus’ World

The world in which Jesus spent His life was fairly small. The Holy Land area is comparable to the size of New Jersey or Massachusetts. Jesus didn’t travel great distances to teach even though the known world of His time clearly extended beyond Palestine. But His words conveyed a lack of limitation as to what “the world” included for His followers. “All” extended the mission field everywhere and anywhere for them.

Where’s “All” The World?

Map showing continents of the world.
Map showing continents of the world in blue. [Courtesy pixabay.com]
Rather than implying Christians are required to visit every country on Earth to fulfill the Great Commission, “all the world” emphasizes the broad area targeted. The whole world needs to hear about Jesus. His directive implies a worldwide mission with the Good News to be spread everywhere and to everyone without limitation–Jews and Gentiles, men and women, people living in your country and people who don’t.

Some believers will of course be called and go to foreign countries in fulfillment of the Great Commission. But if we all move to Africa, who will be left to talk to others about Jesus back home?
Perhaps we don’t even need to permanently move to a foreign location. Opportunities for short-term mission trips abound. After participating in several of these, and I can assure you the experiences expanded my view of the world and who I could reach for Jesus. For examples of 1 to 3 weeks mission opportunities available, check it out here.

Entering The Mission Field

Perhaps a better way of viewing and understanding the Great Commission is by making it personal. Read Mark 16:15 as if Jesus is speaking directly to you. For me, that imperative sound like: “Alice, go into all of your world and spread the gospel to everyone.”

A local church has a beautiful wooden sign above the door which congregants see as they leave the sanctuary. It reads, “You are now entering the mission field.” A brief statement, but, oh, how deep. Wherever we go in our daily lives, that world is our mission field and where God wants us to fulfill the Great Commission.

wooden sign about entering mission field with Bible reference
Wooden sign indicating mission field to be entered. [Photo by Alice H. Murray]

Defining Our World

Our world is bigger than we might think. While physically residing in one geographic location, we can “go” into the wider world through the assistance of technology. Email, social media, cell phones, Zoom, etc. allow us to communicate with people a great distance from us, perhaps in a different country or on a different continent. If you can interact with them, an opportunity to share the Good News exists.

We can even reach people we don’t know or even connect with. Dad intentionally left a copy of the Our Daily Bread devotional booklet on his seat when he got off the bus at the end of his morning commute. This action allowed him to share the Good News with whomever might pick up the booklet and read it after his exit. He never knew who the reader was, but Dad recognized they lived in his world and needed Jesus. (See https://ourdailybread.org/faq/how-can-i-receive-our-daily-bread-at-home/ if you want to try this outreach method.)

And who knows? The world may come to you. Living in a military community, I encounter spouses and family members who are natives of another country. Teaching an English as a Second Language (ESL) class through a church ministry offers me the chance to engage with people from many different countries and of other faiths. It’s a small world after all with business conducted internationally.

What’s The Answer?

So where is the world believers should go into to obey the Great Commission? It’s not really a question of definition; it’s a question of visualization. Our mission field is all around us, and those people in that world may be reached physically, indirectly, or even via technology. But having determined the where, we need to get up and go with the mission Jesus gave us in mind.

About Alice H. Murray
After over 30 years as a Florida adoption attorney, Alice H. Murray now pursues a different path as Operations Manager for End Game Press. With a passion for writing, she is constantly creating with words. Her work includes contributions to several Short And Sweet books, The Upper Room, Chicken Soup For The Soul, Abba’s Lessons (from CrossRiver Media), and the Northwest Florida Literary Review. Alice is a regular contributor to GO!, a quarterly Christian magazine in the Florida Panhandle, and she has three devotions a month published online by Dynamic Women in Missions. Her devotions have also appeared in compilation devotionals such as Ordinary People Extraordinary God (July 2023) and Guideposts’ Pray A Word A Day, Vol. 2 (June 2023) and pray a word for Hope (September 2023). Alice’s first book, The Secret of Chimneys, an annotated Agatha Christie mystery, was released in April 2023 with a second such book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, to be released in April 2024. You can read more about the author here.

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