The Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20
“18) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭18‬-‭20‬ ‭
We now have what is commonly called “The Great Commission.” This was the formal commissioning service for the eleven apostles. Let’s look at a few key components of this commission.
First, Jesus made this commission based on His authority. (Vs 18) He was sending them out both by His authority and with His authority. Both sides of the coin are important.
Second, the direction of the motion was to “Go! He was sending them forth from Palestine to all the nations around the world. This was a huge expansion from Matthew 10:5-7 where they were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Look at the geographical expansion of Acts 1:8; Jerusalem – all Judea – Samaria – the remotest parts of the earth.
Third, they were to make disciples of all the nations. The focus was on disciple making and not merely on preaching the gospel. Christianity at its core is a new life building movement. The gospel is intended to radically change people into Christ likeness.
Forth, they were to baptize the converts in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I look at this respectively as a baptism of repentance, forgiveness and power. Look at the progression of Mark 1:8, Acts 2:38 and Acts 1:4-5,8. Baptism in the name of the Father emphasized repentance, baptism in the name of the Son emphasized forgiveness and baptism in the Holy Spirit emphasized power.
Fifth, they were to teach the followers of Jesus to keep His commandments. They both preached the Gospel and taught the full council of God’s Word. They were not to leave people in biblical illiteracy.
Sixth, they were to rest in the continual presence of Jesus. He promised to be with them in and through all things. He was not going to abandon them or forsake them.
Finally, they were to embrace these dynamics of the church age while looking forward to the return of Christ. The apostles were focused on the coming kingdom age in Acts 1:6. He acknowledged it was coming, but first they needed to fully embrace the age of the indwelling Spirit of God and their commission to reach even to the remotest parts of the earth with the gospel. (Study the full context of Acts 1:6-8)
We are still in the church age. This commission given in Matthew 28:18-20 is the job description of the church. I fully embrace the Great Commission. Knowing and loving Jesus Christ has given me a burning passion for world evangelization.
Every local church must fight the tendency to become introverted and self focused. Embracing Jesus Christ translates into a call to reach the whole world with the gospel. The Great Commission is as relevant and binding on the church today as it was when Jesus delivered it to His first eleven disciples. The presence and power of God is abundantly poured out on those who selflessly carry this baton.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global