Here is an overview of the Great Commission as given in Matthew 28: 18-20 and see why we also receive this imperative command.
Matthew 28: 16-17
Before Jesus gave the Great Commission to the disciples, He told them to go “To the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw it, they loved it, but some doubted “ (Matthew 28: 16-17). The first step to being a disciple of Christ is to obey what He tells us and He told the disciples to go to the mountain, so when they got there they worshiped Him… but oddly enough there were some who doubted Him. Maybe they thought it was all a scam or they couldn’t believe it was Jesus who had been mercilessly beaten, tortured and crucified. We are not told why some people doubted. Otherwise, how they doubted the Risen Christ is beyond me. I might have doubted too.
Why do you think there were some who doubted?
Have you ever had doubts? What were your reasons for doubting?
Were there mixed skeptics among the worshipers?
After Jesus has been worshiped, “Jesus came and said to them: ‘All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth’ (Matthew 28:18), and since he has all authority, he authorizes them to do what they had already done and that is to bear witness to the children of Israel, therefore the same authority that Jesus has in heaven, he extends it to the disciples, even if they are subject to and under Christ.
Do you feel empowered to testify for Jesus Christ? Why?
Has this verse ever been misused by well-meaning Christians?
Who are the hardest to see and why?
Matthew 28: 19a
After Jesus tells them that he has all authority, he clearly explains why he said this. It is because he commanded them, “Go then and do disciples of all nations “ (Matt 28: 19a), so they get an order, and in the Greek language it is written as an imperative order, like that of a king, so there is no way out for the disciples. Obviously, they have to go all over the world to make disciples of other nations, and history records that they did just that, but paid a high price in their martyrdom. Most of them died a gruesome death, but the point is, they have to train other people they meet, which is exactly what the spiritual form was created for. If we can help others become disciples, then others “Make disciples of all the nations”, even if it is alongside or by financially and prayerfully supporting Christian ministries.
What do you think of when you hear the word disciple?
When Paul was Timothy’s mentor, was he the disciple?
What’s your favorite excuse to dodge this command (like I sometimes do)?
Matthew 28: 19b
After the disciples have made other disciples, then they must baptize “Them in (or in) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ” (Mt 28: 19b), which means, as the Greek language suggests, identifying them with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, but also with the Father and the Holy Spirit, much like Moses was identified in the baptism of Israel in the Red Sea and where Paul wrote, “our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed by the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Co 10: 1-2). It was not the seawater with which they were identified … it was Moses, so to baptize others is to identify others or to associate others with the Three Persons of the Trinity, but of course, the person who is saved must be baptized, for it is commanded, but not to complete their salvation. You cannot baptize or immerse someone in the Son, the Father or the Holy Spirit, so in the context its meaning is clear and it means that they must be identified with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Spirit, and that’s a good thing, right? We are not identified with water… but with God. I want others to see me and associate with Jesus, for better or for worse.
Do people identify you with Jesus? If yes, why?
Why did Paul mention that they were “baptized into Moses?
Have you been baptized? If not, why not?
Matthew 28: 20a
The work of the disciple is not finished. After making other disciples and baptizing or identifying them with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (along with the baptism of the next believer), they are to be “education let them observe everything I have ordered from you. (Matthew 28: 20a). This is where I see a connection between the 1st century church and this commission. In Acts 2:42 it is said that the church “Dedicated themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fraternal communion, to the breaking of bread and to prayers. What was the “The teaching of the apostles? “ This was exactly what Jesus said not that long ago, and it was to teach others to observe the same things he had taught them. Guess what? This is the doctrine of the apostles, and it is the same thing we are studying today! Really, their doctrine was really the doctrine of Jesus. We are commanded to teach others the same things Jesus taught his disciples.
Would you say that part of “all things” that they were to teach others included the Ten Commandments?
Why does Jesus say they should “observe” everything he taught them instead of “obey?” “
Basically, is obeying and observing the same thing? To explain.
Matthew 28: 20b
In the final part of this command of Jesus, or the Great Commission, He reassures them after all His instructions, that He will be with them …. always, and that includes until the end, and until the end of their life. Jesus tells us the same thing today. He neither leaves us nor forsakes us as the author of the Hebrews wrote, “Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for he said, ‘I will never forsake you or forsake you.’ (Heb 13: 5), so part of knowing that God will be with us forever, even until the end, is that we can be satisfied no matter how much money we have… or don’t have. Our contentment does not rest with things… but with Him. Jesus is the Solid Rock on which we rest, and this fact should give us great satisfaction.
Is it a little scary to testify to someone?
Why does it seem easier to testify in front of strangers than friends, family and co-workers?
Does this get us out of the woods?
Is the Great Commission also addressing you? If not, why not?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the host of Spiritual fitness and senior writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.