While Jesus was on earth, he called the disciples and taught them His gospel or good tidings for the whole world. Additionally, He showed them what it took to share these good tidings with everyone. As He was with them, He gave them a very specific and exclusive mission. Here is the record as reported by Matthew:
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
He sent them, of course, but He also warned them of the difficulties they would face. The details of the many difficulties, as well as the solutions proposed by the Savior are found in chapter 10 of the book of Matthew:
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Therefore, they were prepared and comforted by the Lord Himself in what awaited them. My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ does not ask for anything half-heartedly, He requires everything. It is a truth that was understood and confirmed by elder Richard G. Scott, member of the College of Apostles:
“Give your Heavenly Father and His beloved Son absolute priority in your life, a place even more important than life, more important than your beloved husband, than your children and anything else on earth. Make His will your main desire. Then, everything that is necessary for your happiness will be given unto you.” (see New Era, July 1993, 39).
I can sincerely testify that one of the ways to apply these prophetic guidelines in your life is to invite people to come unto Christ, be it through your words or through your lifestyle.
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ reiterated the apostles with the same instructions, but this time He was not referring only to the lost sheep of Israel, but to the whole earth. He expresses it in his own words:
“Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
And teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” ₃
After receiving the Holy Spirit, the faithful apostles of Jesus Christ received the power and authority to teach faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endurance to the end.
At that time, people were so affected by the teachings of the Apostles of the Church that they were beginning to multiply both in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas. This brought a great and brief joy to the true disciples of the Lord 4; but they began to persecute and even kill the apostles. Thus, the whole earth was disconnected from the heavens for several centuries. This long period that was predicted by the holy prophets is known as 'Apostasy' .5
Thanks to the prayer of a 14-year-old teenager (Joseph Smith, son), our Heavenly Father and His beloved son, Jesus Christ, appeared unto him to restore the Church to the entire surface of the earth. And this same mandate, that of preaching the gospel, was given to young Joseph. Through him, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days Saints was organized by God to help do His work, which is to achieve salvation and exaltation for His children. Additionally, the Church invites everyone to go to Christ and to be perfected in him. The invitation to come unto Christ concerns all those who have lived or will live on earth. Therefore, we preach the Gospel, for the salvation of the dead and the living. 6
In this last dispensation, our Redeemer reminds us of the sacred importance of a soul in his eyes as expressed in modern revelation:
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God…
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
Today, members of the church and full-time missionaries share this same responsibility and have many tools to help the earth understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, including:
1- The sacred scriptures
2- The 'Preach My Gospel' handbook
3- Brochures that contain the missionary lessons
However, the most important thing is to live such a life where the Holy Ghost can always inspire us and guide us towards those who are willing to receive the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s gospel of love.
I remember an experience when I was a young missionary. We met a gentleman during the blessing of a child in the Church. After the meeting, we exchanged contact information to go to his house and give him the missionary lessons. After teaching him the first lesson, the Spirit was very strong, and the Gentleman was very moved by what he had learned. That's when he asked for our address. Surprised by that question, my partner and I asked him the reason for such a question. He told us that this message is so important that it would be better for him to come and take the lessons with us. Knowing that the Gospel message is based on families, we kindly insisted that we kept going to his house to have the opportunity to teach the other members of his family as well.
Thanks to such an experience, this family is baptized, they are sealed in the temple and live the gospel in great joy. This story teaches and confirms me that the field is white already to harvest. Knowing that if we are worthy, the Holy Ghost will guide us to people that are prepared, but also It will guide them to us to help them find the path to eternal life.
However, the challenges faced by the first apostles of Jesus Christ resurface today in other forms. Nonetheless, as members of his Church, we are equally entitled to His help. Because Our Lord very clearly tells us:
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. 8
I know with all my heart that there is nothing more important than the opportunity that is offered to us, through our calling from the Lord Himself, to 'Preach His Gospel'. In doing this, we can understand one another, and be edified and rejoice together. 9
- Mathew 10:5-7
- Mathew 10:37-39
- Hymn # 58, English
- 2 Thessalonians 2: 3
- Church Administration handbook, Chapter 2, section 2.2
- D&C 18:10 & 15-16
- D&C 84:88
- D&C 50:22