And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”Matthew 28:18-20
Understanding the Great Commission
These last words that Jesus spoke to his disciples reveals what the master wanted his followers to do. The grammatical observation that needs to be made in this verse is that the author uses one verb (“to make”) in a verbal tense (the aorist tense) that draws attention to the participles (going, baptizing, and teaching). These action-packed participles reveal how one ought to make disciples. So, in summary, Jesus commands his followers to make disciples, and this will be done as they are going into the world, baptizing those who believe, and teaching believers to obey all that Jesus has commanded. If you claim to follow Jesus, then he commands you to be making disciples.
I believe this command can be intimidating upon first reading. In fact, the task, when placed before most believers, may seem insurmountable. I have asked many women, “what prevents you from taking the responsibility to disciple another woman?” Do you know what the #1 response was? “Who am I that someone should listen to me?” Women are usually aware of their shortcomings. Due to their own personal struggles, they often feel inadequate to speak into another woman’s life. While there are legitimate reasons why someone may not be ready to disciple another person, and these will be considered and discussed in a following article, I believe that in the context of the Great Commission passage, Jesus draws attention to his authority and his presence to give his disciples confidence in their ability to fulfill this great quest.
It is because Jesus is with us, and he has been given all authority, that we are able to make disciples. There is nothing in this earth or in the heavens that lies outside of his control. God the Father has given his son all authority, just as was prophesied through the prophet Daniel, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (7:13-14). Jesus’ resurrection validates his claims to be the Son of God and it inaugurates the building of this eternal kingdom prophesied in Daniel.
Having just been raised from the dead, the disciples have been assured that Jesus is the Messiah, and the one in whom all the prophecies would be fulfilled. Moses and the prophets looked forward to the time that God would begin restoring all things and all people to himself. Through this group of disciples going out into the world and making more disciples, God would be begin to build His eternal kingdom. This eternal kingdom will consist of people from all the nations, and he has chosen you to participate in this process of gathering people to Himself through disciple making.
You have the opportunity to invest in something that will never be destroyed. Your work will have eternal rewards. And guess what? He does not leave you to do it alone! He promises to be present with you wherever you go (Matt. 28:20). His presence and His authority is what empowers you to fulfill the Great Commission. It the intent of this blog to help cultivate within you a vision for how to live intentionally for your God, by working with Him to expand His Kingdom one person at a time.
Author: Carey Purdom