I was converted in the year 1979. A lot of people know the day and time of coming to Christ, but not me. All I know is that God’s grace irresistibly drew me until I was exhausted. I think fatigue played a prominent role in my conversion!
As I grew in my faith, I became aware of something called “the Great Commission”. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I certainly saw the effect of it. It would suddenly snatch up college graduates and send them to far off places. John would be involved in leading a campus ministry, taking classes, dating Cindy, and then, BAM, he was gone! Oh how I wanted that experience! I wanted to be caught up in some great and grand adventure. I didn’t exactly know what the Great Commission was, but I knew it must be something special, because it could capture and catapult the best people in the church. I didn’t know what the Great Commission was, but I wanted in, and I didn’t want it to pass me by.
Here I am, almost three decades later. Things didn’t quite turn out how I thought they would. Sure, I have traveled some to various countries, but I never took up residence in a Third World country or secretly preached in a Communist country. For a number of years, I wondered if I somehow missed out on the Great Commission – did it pass me by? But what I’ve learned over the years, is that the thing that makes the Great Commission great is that it is available all Christians right where they live.
Let’s look afresh at the Great Commission, and see what makes it truly great.
THE GREAT COMMISSION IS GREAT BECAUSE IT STARTS WITH THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST
Matthew 28:18 says, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'” Because of the cross and resurrection, all authority in heaven and on earth has been transferred to Jesus Christ from the Father. Think for a moment about all that is included in the words “all authority”. Jesus has all authority over Satan, the government, the economy, the media, those hostile to Christianity, and every other thing in the universe. The Great Commission invites us to ponder the power of the cross. Through his death and resurrection, Christ secured all authority for himself.
The authority of Jesus forms the foundation for all evangelism and missions. The authority of Jesus guarantees that we will see results when we proclaim the gospel. Jesus has all authority and power to accomplish his will, and his will includes saving a multitude of people through the proclamation of the gospel.
When we hear something like “results guaranteed!”, we think of slick salesmen or trendy diets. The Great Commission is not like that. The Great Commission is great because is guarantees results. The Great Commission is great because is guarantees fruit.
This should greatly encourage us in our efforts to proclaim the gospel! Jesus has already guaranteed the success of the Great Commission, and we get to play a part in it! Let the authority of Jesus stir fresh faith in you for sharing the gospel.
THE GREAT COMMISSION IS GREAT BECAUSE IT INCLUDES THE CHURCH
Often in the Old Testament, God would address leaders, who in turn represented those they lead. For example, when God addressed David, he wasn’t only addressing David, he was addressing all of Israel. We see the same thing at work in the Great Commission. When Jesus addressed the disciples, he was also addressing the Church who would follow in the footsteps of the disciples. This is clear from the scope of the Great Commission. Jesus called the disciples to proclaim the gospel to all nations until the end of the age. It was impossible for the disciples alone to fulfill this mission. Clearly, Jesus had the church in mind as well. You could say that the eleven received the commission, the church finishes the commission.
How does the church fulfill the Great Commission? Jesus spells it out in Matthew 28:19 – 20:
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.
The church is called to preach the gospel, baptize those who believe, and then teach them to obey the commands of Jesus. This mission involves every Christian! The Great Commission can’t be fulfilled only by pastors. In order for the Great Commission to be fulfilled, every Christian must be actively proclaiming the gospel and teaching others to obey the commands of Christ.
The Great Commission is great because it rests on the authority of Christ and because it involves the entire church. Do you see just how great our commission is?