Have you not marked the world-wide swing of Jesus' thought and plan? It is stupendous in its freshness and bold daring. The bigness of His idea of the thing to be done is immense. To use a favorite phrase of today, He had a world-consciousness. It is hard for us to realize what a startling thing His world-consciousness was. We are so familiar with the Gospels that we lose much of their force through mere rote of familiarity.
It takes a determined effort, and the fresh touch of the Holy Spirit, too, to have them come with all the freshness of a new book. And then we have gotten sort of used in our day, and in our part of the world especially, to talking about world-wide enterprises.
We don't realize what a stupendous thing a world-consciousness was in Jesus' day. He certainly did not get it from His own generation; not from the Jews. It stands out in keen contrast to their ideas. They lived within very narrow alleyways. They supposed they were the favorites of God; and everybody else—dogs, and damned dogs, too; not in the profane usage, but actually.
But Jesus thought of a world, and yearned for a world. The words "world" and "earth" are constantly on His lips. He said He came "into the world;" not to Palestine; that was only the door He used for entrance. It was from Him that John learned, what he wrote down, that He was to "lighten every man that cometh into the world."
To the Jewish senator of the inner national circle He said plainly in that great sentence that contains the gist of the whole Bible—John, three, sixteen—that it was a world he was after. A saved world was the one purpose of His errand to the earth. He had come to "save the world," (Joh_3:17 and would stop at nothing short of giving His very self "for the life of the world."
He tells His own inner circle that "the field" is a world. And that it is to be won by the means He Himself was using; namely, men, human beings, "sons of the kingdom" (Mat_13:38 were to be sown as seed all over its vast extent.
You remember, that last week, the request of the Greeks for an interview? (Joh_12:20-33 The outside non-Jewish world came to Him in the visit and earnest request of those Greeks. And His whole being became greatly agitated. It was as when one, at last, after years of labor without any seeming success, gets a first faint glimpse of the results he longs so earnestly for. Here was a touch, a glimpse of the very thing on which His heart was so set. The great outside world was coming to Him.
The realization of its tremendous meaning, the sure promise it held of the day when all the world would be coming seems to set Him all a-tremble with intensest emotion. The delight of the possible realizing of His life-dream, His earth errand, and yet the terrific conviction that only by travelling the red road of the cross could that world be won, made a fierce conflict within. It was the world-vision that agitated Him.
And it was that same world-vision that held Him steady. He would not scatter. By concentrating all in one act He would generate and set off a dynamic power on Calvary that would shake and then shape a world. The knowledge that all men would be irresistibly drawn by the loadstone of the cross steadied His steps.
A few days later, as He sat resting a bit, on the side of the Hill of Olivet, the disciples earnestly ask for some idea of His plan. And He explains that the Gospel was to be "preached to the whole inhabited earth." (Mat_24:14 That conception was never out of His mind. How could it be!
But the great purpose and passion of His life stands out most sharply in the words of that last imperial command. He shows the whole of His heart in that stirring "Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all the nations"; "preach the gospel to the whole creation." The passion of Jesus' heart was to win the world. And that passion has grown intenser in waiting. To-day more than ever the one passion of yonder enthroned Man is to win His world. Everything else bends to that with Him. Nothing less will satisfy His heart.
Now, the God-touched man is always swayed by the same purpose and passion as sway God. The passion of every God-touched man, fresh from direct contact with Him, is to win the whole world up to God. Everything will be held under the strong thumb of this, and made to fit and bend and blend into it.