The Great Commission
The Great Commission is a command from Jesus, to us, that we shouldn’t take likely because it fulfills God’s plan of reaching all the nations. As believers, we are called to a lot of things, but this one of proclaiming the gospel and making disciples shouldn't be overlooked. The Great Commission is a term that is tossed around in the church for good reasons but let's discuss what it is and how we can apply it during our Christian walk.
"The nations and peoples will be reached by means of believers opening their mouths and sharing the good news."- John Piper
What is the great commission?
There are multiple references in the bible for what the Great Commission is. The Great Commission is a command that was given by Jesus to the remaining 11 disciples as His last words before His death and resurrection which you can see in Matthew, Mark, and Acts.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given to you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
“…Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” – Mark 16:15
“…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
We are called as followers of Christ to go and make disciples of all the nations. We are to spread the Good News, the gospel, to everyone. We will receive power from the Holy Spirit, and be witnesses telling people about Jesus everywhere.
In Acts 1:8 it states that we, as in believers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, will receive the Holy Spirit. The same authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28) is given to us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has power! The word Therefore connects the power given to Jesus, to the instruction that Jesus is giving the disciples of going and making disciples of all nations. So everyone who receives the Holy Spirit has the same power that Jesus was given to go and be witnesses of the gospel.
There are four key points from the Great Commission that we as believers should take note of. We are called to proclaim the gospel, we are to go and make disciples, we were given power from the Holy Spirit until the end, and we are to go out into all of the world with the gospel.
We are called to proclaim the gospel.
As christians, we are called to declare and proclaim the gospel (Mark 16:15) because You are God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light, (1 Peter 2:9). God our creator of the world has called us His special possession and has also given us instructions. Whether new christian or “seasoned vet” christian we should be at least proclaiming the gospel to those around us. The definition for proclaim here is “announcing, making public, or to declare with honor” the work of Jesus. Sharing or announcing the good news should be a natural response to declaring Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
- Do you proclaim and share the gospel? To friends and family? To strangers? If not, why not?
We are to go and make disciples.
Disciple defined is someone who adhere’s to the teachings of another. In other words, follower of Christ. “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:19-20). In this passage, Jesus is telling his disciples to follow Him. Not only is Jesus finding people (disciples) but He is teaching them to find people. Jesus is teaching his disciples to make disciples. Therefore, go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). As followers of Christ we should be finding people and making disciples of them. It is one thing to get people saved but it’s another to teach them and guide them to teach the truths of God’s word and the gospel. “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is an essential way to spread the gospel across all nations.
- Is there anyone right now that you could be walking with, teaching, and discipling?
We were given power from the Holy Spirit
At times, it can be a little difficult proclaiming the gospel in this world of darkness where the name Jesus isn’t always accepted. God included a promise for us, that should help us sleep at night when it comes to proclaiming the gospel. The first sentence in Mathew 28:18 states “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” The next word is “therefore” which ties this fact and promise to the instruction to go and make disciples of all nations. This authority is given to us through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). This is what you would call true authority and power because in Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and the earth. The only power that can create the heavens and the earth is God’s power. Jesus is saying He was given this power (through the Holy Spirit) and because of it, we should go and proclaim the gospel. As a follower of Christ, we receive the same Holy Spirit.
Mark 16:17 says that there will be signs that accompany those who believe: In Jesus’ name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will get well. These are all things that Jesus would perform and would be considered miraculous yet Jesus is saying that those who believe in His name will have this same power within them to go and share the good news. If there is anything that you needed to help you overcome any fear from proclaiming the gospel, it should be the power of the Holy Spirit that was given to us as followers of Christ.
We need to also take not that Jesus has promised to be with us until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). This is the most comforting part of the Great Commission. He doesn’t just command us and leaves us to get the job done. He promises to stay with us during this journey. One of God’s names is Immanuel meaning “God is with us” and He promises to stay with us until the end.
- As a believer, how does it make you feel knowing you have been given the power of the Holy Spirit until the end of the age? Does it comfort you at all to go and share the life and work of Jesus?
We are to go out into all of the world with the Gospel
There are over 30+ scriptures in the bible that tells us that God wants us to reach all of the nations with the gospel. God’s goal is to reach all of His people and He will accomplish this through His believers declaring and proclaiming the gospel to those who do not believe. People will hear His voice and they will follow (John 10:16). If we aren’t intentional about going outside of our homes or our churches, how will all of the world be reached? His word says through His believers. But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went (Acts 8:4). Thousands and thousands have been saved just by believers speaking up and sharing the good news. “…And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). If we seek God about reaching the world, He will provide us with the things we need.
- This week, proclaim the gospel to atleast 1 person. Journal your encounters and describe your experiences. Were they receptive? Did they lash out? Did they feel loved?
- Pursue 1 close family or friend that you could intentionally disciple to becoming a disciple for Jesus. Begin praying for them everyday asking God to prepare you for discipling them.
Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you for your saving grace that you have extended to all of us. As we continue in our walk of following Christ let us remember that you have promised you will be with us until the end of the age. Also let us rest in the authority that you have given us through your Holy Spirit. With this power, we can be bold and courageous because you will go ahead of us. Lord we thank you for the opportunities to proclaim the gospel to those around us for the growth of your kingdom. Let all that we do glorify your name. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.