The Great Commission
Text: Matthew 28 : 1 - 20
Each of the four Gospels ended on a very similar note. Let us take time to ponder over what the writers wrote as they concluded their Gospels.
1. The Gospel of Mark
The longer account in Mark’s Gospel had this note concerning the Great Commission.
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world
and preach the Gospel to every creature.’ ”
Mark’s emphasis was the preaching of the Gospel to all the world!
2. The Gospel of Luke
Luke had this to say about the ministry of the disciples. His focus was on the work of bearing witness for the Lord Jesus. But the idea of the Great Commission was still in mind.
“Repentance and remission of sins should be preached
in His Name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And you are witnesses of these things.
Behold I send the Promise of My Father upon you;
but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power
from on high.”
Luke’s emphasis is on the work of witnessing. The disciples were not to be afraid of the challenge of bearing witness for Jesus, for they would be endued with power from the Spirit of God for that work!
3. The Gospel of John
John also noted the fact that Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim the Gospel.
“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you!
as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’
And when He had said this, He breathed on them,
and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
John also emphasized the role of the Spirit of God in the lives of the disciples. They are to remember that they were SENT by Jesus, even as He was SENT by His Father to fulfil the heavenly Will. The disciples would have all the power and authority they would ever need to be successful in ministry.
4. The Gospel of Matthew
Matthew added his own perspective concerning the Great Commission.
“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,
baptising 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.”
There were a few more details that Matthew added in his account of the Great Commission. Let us highlight some of these things.
“All Authority is Given to Me in heaven and on earth…”
The disciples were to remember at all times that the Great Commission that was given to them was backed up by tremendous authority! If anyone could authorize them to be His ambassadors, Jesus could!
They would have authority to proclaim the message of the Gospel. They would have authority over demons who would oppose them. They would have authority to preach about the forgiveness of sins. They would have the same authority to retain sins, if their message was rejected!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
Whereas the other Gospels focused on the work of preaching the Gospel, and that was not wrong, Matthew emphasized the work of discipleship! They of all people would know that it would take nothing less than discipleship to do justice to the work that Jesus had entrusted them. Preaching the Gospel, and bearing witness for Jesus would only be the initial work. There was much more to be done. The work of discipleship was the key work in the Great Commission.
“Baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
This work was not unimportant. The work of baptism would be the fitting capstone of their efforts in preaching and witnessing!
“Teaching them all things that I have commanded you…”
The work does not end with baptism. There were deeper lessons to teach. Jesus had taught the disciples so much. It was their duty now to impart all that Jesus had taught them. The task would have been daunting if not for the promise of Jesus to be with them.