In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus give us the Great Commission. We have looked at the Great Commission from several perspectives in previous blogs. When you get right down to it, Jesus simply means what he says: “go and make disciples.” It cannot be much clearer. Jesus had gathered his earthly followers to speak to them for the last time before he ascended to heaven. We know that someone who is speaking for the last time is going to convey truths of utmost significance, right?
Right! So Jesus’ last words on earth pronounce five eternally significant truths he wants to make sure YOU know:
- Since a mandate is a command given by an authority, Jesus wants YOU
to know that He is the ultimate authority in the universe. His authority
is given by his father God who created this universe. Jesus is the
King of kings, Lord of lords, the authority of all authorities. He has
demonstrated his pre-eminence in his virgin birth, perfect life, death,
resurrection, and ascension.
- Jesus wants YOU to know that He expects ALL his disciples to join God’s mission
to redeem the world. With his last words on earth, Jesus was not
suggesting, not asking, not pleading, but commanding every follower
to make disciples of every people group on earth. Ethnos, the Greek
word used here, is not correctly translated by the word “nations,” as
commonly quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. It actually
translates “people groups.” Traditional missionary organizations
have defined people groups as ethno-linguistic groups. Curt Watke,
Intercultural Institute for Contextual Ministry, reminds us that these
groups can be more fluid, consisting of those who perceive themselves
to be members of the same social category— nationality, race,
ethnicity, social class, occupation, gender, religion, affinity, lifestyle,
etc. Their identification with the group provides them emotional and
value significance. 1
- Jesus wants YOU to know that YOU must go to the world. According to
the Great Commission, it is not his plan to win the world by getting
people into our church buildings. We will win the world by getting the church
into the world. The redemptive mission of God previously delivered
through the chosen people of Israel is now being handed to every believer
regardless of culture.
- Jesus wants YOU to know that we should baptize those who follow him.
Why would Jesus command us to do something as theologically
controversial as baptizing disciples? Because baptism is the way we
proclaim to the world that we are Jesus’ disciple. Baptism dramatically
portrays the death and burial of self and the resurrection to new life in
Christ. Jesus clearly does not want his disciples to follow him in secret.
Baptism is a public act of discipleship that symbolizes all it means to
follow Christ. And he commands us to make it a priority.
- Jesus wants YOU to know that he expects YOU to teach disciples to obey his commands. There can be no discipleship without obedience to Christ’s Biblical commands.
Now you know… so GO! — Mark Powers
Curt Watke, “Understanding Your Missional Culturescape: a white paper on defining
“people groups” for mission and ministry,” http://www.missionalcyclopedia.org.