Skip to content

The Great Commission


Text. Matthew 28:18-20

A question –  “What is the Great Commission” really about?

1. Christians are to Go in Power. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.

This happened after the resurrection, when Jesus was making his post-resurrection appearances around Jerusalem, and was speaking to his disciples. He came, and spoke to them – these are the very words of the resurrected Christ. Notice firstly,

  • His mighty power.
    • Its source. It is given unto him, – different from any spiritual power we have, which we don’t have by right and which we cannot generate within ourselves. Christ’s power is given to him from the Father, not as a gift but as of right, for he is seated at the right hand of the father, from whence all power is derived.
    • Its extent. It is all power in heaven and earth – universal power over all of creation. It is the power to forgive sins, to save souls, to heal bodies, to intercede for his people, to reign over heaven and earth, to set up and to remove kingdoms, Matt. 9:6, Luke 19:12, Ps. 110:1, Acts 10:36

We have a POWERFUL SAVIOUR who has commissioned us go out and be his representatives in this world, and we need never be ashamed of him, or discouraged or timid, for we serve a powerful Savour and Lord.

  • His missional people. Go! Of course this command is given to those first apostles, but it is for us too. We are still to go, to carry the message of the gospel away out into the whole world, to every tribe and tongue and nation and people. Acts 1:8  
  • His method of proclamation. Teaching. We are not commanded to be exciting, or to initiate innovative worship. We are to TEACH, and that requires a steady diet of Christian doctrine, week after week after week. “Isaiah 28:10-15  Isaiah’s method was a slow steady methodical doctrinal instruction, – and it brought the law to bear, some were saved through it, many were brought under further condemnation by it. The Greek text is mathēteuō – Disciples, we are to ‘disciple’ all nations, and you don’t make disciples any other way than by teaching them the doctrines of the faith. AMP: 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words]

So, we are to GO, and to TEACH, in the name of the mighty Saviour of mankind, and to make new disciples who will learn about Christ and what He has done, and believe in hIm, trust him, and who, in response to his lover and grace, will follow him.

2. Baptism – Related to Doctrinal Teaching.  baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

Baptism comes AFTER TEACHING. It is not an evangelistic tool. But let’s see:-

  • Christ’s formula for baptism. READ Acts 19:1-5 There we find some people IN Ephesus who had been baptised with John’s baptism and had no assurance that the Holy Spirit was indwelling them – in fact they’d never even heard of the Holy Spirit so, when they heard the gospel and believed, Paul rebaptised them.  It’s the one single incident of rebaptism in the whole NT, and it’s not a precedent for us, for Acts is telling us what WAS DONE, not what WE MUST DO!  When they were baptised by Paul they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. That is simply to inform us that they were baptised into Christ, as opposed to their previous baptism into the name of John.  Just as their former baptism would not have been ‘in the name of John the Baptist’ so their Christian baptism would have been as instructed by Jesus himself in Matthew 28:19  We are to baptise in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 
  • Christ’s followers to be obedient. So, what is the purpose of baptism – in fact the purpose of both the ordinances, baptism AND communion? They are to reinforce to us the message of the gospel, to be visual aids, helping us to understand the simplicity of the message, that Christ died for sinners on the cross. Shed his own precious blood, to atone for our sins, his death taking the punishments that we deserved for our sin., that blood that washes away all our sins! 1 Peter 1:18-19.  They are SYMBOLS that illustrate the message of the gospel.

H/C Q66. What are the sacraments? A. The sacraments are holy, visible signs and seals. They were instituted by God so that by their use he might the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel.  And this is the promise: that God graciously grants us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life because of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross.

The Christian ordinances are baptism and communion, and no more, the two signs and symbols that point to the gospel, and act as visual demonstrations of how Christ has died in our room and stead, and how his death washes away all our sins. Only baptism and the Lord’s Supper are commanded by Christ.

3. The Means and Extent of Christ’s Presence. and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This will be a difficult task, but with the task comes a wonderful promise, that when we go into all the world to teach, to administer the sacraments, to point men and women to Christ, the Saviour himself will go with us, and that promise was not just for those believers who were seeing him that day, in his resurrection body, standing before them and talking with them.  Actually, it is more than a promise, it is a FACT. Jesus didn’t say to them, “I will be with you…” – that may have raised a little bit of doubt in their minds. He said, “I AM with you.” – right up to the end of the world. It is now a spiritual presence, but Jesus is every bit with us, with his church, with believers, – as he was in physical presence with those first apostles. John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away,

Before we finish, look at how Jesus finished this commission, – AMEN. Not just a perfunctory, obligatory end to a prayer or a sermon, but more than that, a divine imprimatur on this charge, this commission. So be it, – it WILL be so.

© Bob McEvoy November 2022

From → Matthew

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: