The Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20)

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


A) All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me: This commission that follows is given in light of the authority of Jesus. This indicates that this is an authoritative command, not a suggestion. It is the same idea as if an officer reminded a private of his rank before he gave the order. Because He has this authority, He can send whomever He wills to do whatever He pleases.


B) Therefore go: Because Jesus has this authority, we are therefore commanded to go. It is His authority that sends us, His authority that guides us, and His authority that empowers us. His work and message would continue to the world through His disciples.


C) Jesus said, "Go" to some very imperfect disciples. Who is to "go" out of that first band of disciples? It is Peter, who is rash and headstrong. It is John, who sometimes wishes to call fire from heaven to destroy men. It is Philip, with whom the Savior has been so long, and yet he has not known him. It is Thomas, who must put his finger into the print of the nails, or he will not believe him. Still Jesus tells them, "All authority has been given to Me...go and make disciples of all nations."


D) Make disciples of all nations: The command is to make disciples, not merely converts or supporters of a cause. The idea behind the word disciples is of scholars, learners, or students.


E) Make disciples reminds us that disciples are made. Disciples are not spontaneously created at conversion; they are the product of a process involving other believers. This making of disciples is the power of spreading Christianity.


F) Of all nations: In His previous ministry, Jesus deliberately restricted His work to the Jewish people (Matthew 15:24) and previously sent His disciples with the same restriction (Matthew 10:6). Only in rare exceptions did Jesus minister among the Gentiles (Matthew 15:21-28). Now all of that is in the past, and the disciples are commissioned to take the gospel to all nations. There is no place on earth where the gospel of Jesus should not be preached and where disciples should not be made.


G) The plan of Jesus' disciples is to make disciples of all men everywhere, without distinction.


H) In the name is literally "into the name", implying entrance into an allegiance.


I) The words and context certainly indicate that it is disciples who are baptized, those of age who can be taught and who can observe the things Jesus commanded.


J) In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: The experience of God in these three Persons is the fundamental basis of discipleship. At the same time the singular noun "name" (not names) underlines the unity of the three Persons of the Godhead. One God, in three persons = "The Trinity."


K) teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you: Disciples are made through teaching. This teaching is not with words only, but with the power of the always present Jesus. He will be present with His people until the job of making disciples is done until the very end of the age.


L) The content of the teaching must be everything I have commanded you. The followers of Jesus are responsible to present the whole counsel of God to those who are made disciples.


M) surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age: Jesus sent His disciples with a mission to fulfill, but He did not send them alone. The promise of His constant presence was more than enough to strengthen and guide the disciples as they obeyed Jesus in making disciples of all nations.

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