We must tell the good news. Yet I do not think a guilt trip is the best motivation for good newsing, i.e. evangelizing. The biblical writers gave motivation and we also have great motivation for why we share the gospel. Why do we share the gospel? We share the gospel because it is the gospel; it is good news! Most of us when we have good news will share it. If we like a certain football team, tennis player, soccer team, or bad mitten team and they win a game we will be excited and we will likely even call friends that like the opposing team to brag. If we go to the store and see a certain purse, pair of pants, or shoes on sale and we buy them, we’ll likely tell someone how much we paid for them. If we go to a new movie we like we will not hesitate for a minute to tell someone about it and tell him or her that they “have to see it.” We tell these things because we are excited about the “good news.” I fear if we get excited about these matters and tell people about them but fail to tell them the eternal good news that God the Son died in our place to reconcile us with God. If this is the case of us, we may not understand the gospel.
I could command you to tell the good news. I could write out the Great Commission right here and just say, “Do it” but I think if I did that, I would be pulling that text out of context. Notice, before Jesus said His words in Matthew 28:16-20, He first did and said many other things. We find the Great Commission positioned at the end of Matthew. In fact, if my math is correct, there are one thousand and sixty six verses before it. I believe we must first hear the rest of the book for Jesus’ last charge to be in context; not least of which is Jesus’ death and resurrection. I believe the followers of Christ who were there to hear Jesus’ charge were worshipers (cf. Matt. 28:1; 9: “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary… took hold of his feet and worshiped Him.”). They had not only heard the gospel but had seen it with their own eyes (1 John 1:1-2). They were not given some bland command in the Great Commission but rather it was to them an outlet so that they did not burst.
The singer must sing a song or go mad and the Christian must tell of Christ. Elihu describes well the feelings of compulsion we should have. “The spirit within me constrains me. Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak, that I may find relief” (Job 32:18b-20a). Or Jeremiah says it this way, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (20:9).*
The Great Commission came after Christ had explained the scriptures to them and taught them all the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27). They understood that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah. They saw that Jesus is Immanuel which means God with us (Matt. 1:23). They understood the gospel thus they wept and rejoiced. If we are going to rightly carry out the Great Commission we must first understand the gospel. We must understand Jesus’ last charge on earth in the context of the whole Gospel, His whole person and work, then the gospel should naturally spill out. However, that does not negate the fact that we must still “just do it,” even at times when we don’t feel like it. We must not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power to salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).