Helping everyday disciples live on mission
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission is prefaced by these words, “Then Jesus came to them and said…” Jesus didn’t leave us guessing as to what he wanted us to do. He showed up to speak with the first disciples and told them in plain language what the plan was.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The world was made through Jesus and for Jesus. At the end of time every knee will bow to Jesus, not because they’re forced to, but because they’ll see his glory. Jesus is the rightful King of everyone’s life today. It’s their default setting to worship him, built right into their system.
“Therefore go.” In Greek it means, “as you are going.” Everywhere you go, Jesus is King, and his kingdom is at hand. The “therefore” matters. This isn’t a cool idea or an optional invitation. We go because Jesus is the King and he’s coming back soon.
“Make disciples of all nations.” The Greek word for disciple is mathētḗs, which means “the mental effort needed to think something through.” Disciples are learners, and to disciple someone is to help them learn. We disciple people by giving them experiences with Jesus, which they can later reflect on and so learn about him.
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We disciple people to be dead to sin and alive in Christ, dead to this world and full of the love of the Father, free from Satan’s power and filled with the Holy Spirit.
“Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Not just teaching them about the commands but teaching them to obey the commands of Jesus. This is how disciples learn—through the experience of obedience. Then they know things for sure, not just with head knowledge, but rather because they lived them out themselves.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus is with us, not just as a comfort and companion, but as the one who gave us the authority to disciple the nations. The King sent us out to do something, and when people doubt our message, he’s right there to back us up. Hallelujah!
- For yourself, as a disciple of Jesus, to be living out the commands of Jesus, so that you will be fully equipped to disciple and teach others.
- For our churches, to fully embrace the Great Commission as our primary mission and to invest our resources on bringing the life-giving message of King Jesus to our world.
Doug Penner, Director of Global Mission