“And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
Ethelene Dyer Jones
What we call the “Great Commission” was given to disciples on a mountain in Galilee. By appointment Jesus, the resurrected Christ, had asked them to meet Him there (see Matthew 28:16). Matthew does not write about the ascension in his gospel. He ends the account of Jesus on earth by giving the Lord’s great commission, our mission: “Go, make disciples of all nations.” In the command He also gives a promise, “I am with you always.”
Rev. James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), evangelical missionary from England who founded the China Inland Mission wrote: “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered. It is a command to be obeyed.” In a letter dated February 14, 1860 Taylor wrote to his sister, “If I had a thousand lives, China should have them—No! Not China, but Christ! Can we do enough for such a precious Savior?”
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 has given the call, motivation and incentive for missionaries through the ages to “go and tell.” Moreover, it has inspired Christians to share the message of the Lord Jesus Christ wherever they are.
Because it is the command from One who has “all authority in heaven and on earth,” we are also authorized to go out in His power. We go with Christ’s purpose in mind, “to make disciples.” The zone of ministry is the world, beginning in our own “Jerusalem,” or where we live, and then reaching out to all the world. Disciple-making involves teaching persons about Jesus, and when they have confessed Him, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in obedience to His command. His presence is promised those who go and tell: “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Another faithful missionary, David Livingstone, said of the Great Commission, our Mission: “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”
Let us be faithful to the Great Commission, our mission, and even more so as we see “the Day of the Lord” approaching.
Related reading: The Great Commission and Things Unwritten