“Go and make disciples of all nations” – Jesus in Matthew 28:19
Shortly before Jesus ascended back to heaven, He gave His apostles a clear commission. He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Then on the day that He actually departed, He made the commission very specific to His first followers, when He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!” (Acts 1:8)
It wasn’t long before the apostles did what Jesus commanded. With some persecutors pushing them, they went from Jerusalem through Judea and Samaria, and then on to the ends of the earth as they knew it. Paul went west to Italy, while tradition says that Thomas went east as far as India. To make disciples of all nations, they went to all the nations. Many centuries later, missionaries from Europe went to a new nation that they discovered, now known as the United States of America!
By God’s grace, many of our ancestors received the gospel message. Then they received the same commission that the apostles received, to go and make disciples of all nations. So the churches of America, including the Federated Church, began sending missionaries out to the ends of the earth. For over 75 years, we have been making disciples in many nations.
But in the 21st Century, something amazing is happening in America: the nations are coming to us! People from all over the world are coming to the United States to study (international students), or to escape from persecution (refugees), or to live and work in our country (immigrants). So where are “all the nations”? They’re all over the world and they are here!