What should you do if your beloved teacher rose from the dead after his unjust execution? Thanks be to God, the disciples didn’t really have time to think about that after Jesus met them and answered that question for them by giving them the Great Commission.
This week’s top 5 list details the Great Commission from various angles and helps us better define what it is, and focus our attention to this great call of God.
5. Matthew 16:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
After the Lord rose again, he called his 11 remaining disciples to the mountain, but it says in verse 17 that some doubted. Whatever they doubted really didn’t matter to Matthew (or Jesus). Matthew quickly changes the focus from the doubtful disciples over to Jesus. He literally makes us fix our eyes on Jesus- the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. And when we do, we see his response to our doubts- faith and the future.
He truly believed that they would follow so he gets right to the point, not worrying about their doubts now but refocusing their eyes on their works and future fruit.
He says I have all authority, so go out in my name and help the lost be found.
4. Luke 15:31-32
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”
As the father here represents God, we see that God is with us- the son who’s obeying him, God is with his child. This is undoubtedly true, but are we the ones with God? When we’re truly with him, we share his heart towards the lost- running to the one still far off and celebrating his or her return with such a great celebration.
Some Commentaries around like 15 tell of the rarity of middle eastern Families eating meat. A calf was especially rare, so in a situation like this, a great party would be thrown where the whole village would be invited. This is God’s joy when his children come home.
3. Luke 24:44-49
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
This is amazing when you really think about it. Jesus was spoken of long ago in the prophets, but he says here, the fulfillment of what was written about him is found in the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The 11 were “witnesses of these things.” and we are today, and like them, wee too have been sent the promise from the father to empower us for fulfilling this. Someone once said, God doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called. AMen.
2. Mark 16:15-18
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
This view of the great commission really captures the powerful Jesus Mark displayed in his Gospel. These words are literally Gospel Truth, so we see that, we are called to give salvation to those who believe, and the ones that reject are left behind in their condemnation. God is faithful, so we leave them knowing that he will work with the seeds we planted and by faith we believe some other saints will win them over to Christ. But the ones who believe, they are anointed with the power from on high- the Holy Spirit- and moving out in that power, show these amazing signs.
1. 1 Corinthians 13
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I think this is an unsung passage about the great commission. Even the most awe inspiring act of spiritual power is rendered worthless if its divorced from love. In the end, we preach the truth- man’s fall, the sinful state this world is in, but always we end with God’s great love for this fallen world. We make God known through Jesus who he sent, and we pour out God’s longing heart to those still far off so, they who are lost, dead in their sin, can be found and alive again. This is God’s love. This is the great commission.