Plaque on a preacher’s desk:
“I’m just a NOBODY telling
who can save ANYBODY!”
This succinct sign summarizes our responsibility to share the Good News about Jesus with others. Today’s passage speaks to that wonderful challenge and blessed opportunity.
We call it “The Great Commission.”
This text, so familiar to preachers, teachers, and Bible students, is so simple and so well known that we may overlook its depth. It’s a passage pregnant with profound implications.
Note these ten keywords or phrases
Every religious concern and question comes back to one issue–authority, which embodies the possession of power and the right to rule. Jesus, not a preacher, pastor, pope, or a modern self-proclaimed prophet, has been divinely given all authority by the Father. Today God speaks to us by His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). Thus God implored them and us to “hear Him” (Matt. 17:5).
In Heaven and on Earth
Jesus’ rule is recognized and stated to be universal. He ascended to heaven and occupies a prominent place at the right hand of God. He’s been exalted as both Lord and Christ. The King of kings. And the Lord of lords The blessed and only Potentate (Ax. 2:32-36; 1 Tim. 6:15).
“Jesus, when He gave the great commission to the apostles, set in motion a chain reaction whereby the entire world could be evangelized,” observed Charles Goodall in his 1991 Florida College Lecture, “Evangelizing the Lost.”
Goodall believed by implication and application that “the evangelizing of the lost demands that down through the ages men maintain and perpetuate this chain.”
“Go,” we’re commanded. Too often we build beautiful buildings, hire dynamic evangelists, and send out invitations, then wait for people to come. Yet, Jesus says we must “Go.”
The Great Commission is great not only because of its scope, but its purpose and focus. Converting people to Christ. Saving the lost. And making disciples. That means followers who seek to become like Christ in character and conduct.
The title of J. M. McCaleb’s old hymn is on target–“The Gospel is For All.” All people. All races. All ethnic backgrounds. All socio-economic groups. Worldwide evangelism ought to be the aim of every church to the extent of their ability and opportunity.
Of course, the cultural diversity in the United States, as well as other countries, allows us to share the gospel with people from all walks of life in our hometown.
Jesus clearly stated, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mk. 16:16). The first disciples were baptized “for the remission of sins” (Ax. 2:38). Peter wrote one must be baptized to be saved (1 Pet. 3:21). For it’s through baptism our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Ax. 22:16; Rev. 1:5), and puts us into a relationship with Christ (Rom. 6:3-5).
Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
The Bible teaches there are three that possess Godhood. Not one. Not two. But three. While this is indeed a grand subject worthy of deeper study, Jesus simply states this as fact.
Teaching doesn’t end when one is baptized. It’s just the beginning. Discipeship demands study, learning, and continuing to “grow in grace and in knowledge” (1 Pet. 3:18). The epistles emphasize the importance of education in the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim 3:16-17).
Observe All Things
Christianity is not about mindless rites and rituals but issues itself in practical obedience and thoughtful observance of our responsibilities and obligations. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).
Jesus’ promise to the apostles to be with them, also extends to us today. Jesus knows our cares, concerns, and challenges. He feels our pain. Empathizes with our plight. And hears our pleas and prayers. What a comforting thought to know Jesus is with us. Always.
Indeed the Great Commission is great. Simple, yet profound. Plain, but powerful.
However, as Hudson Taylor reminds us. “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered, but it is a command to be obeyed.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman