Two thousand years ago on a mountainside in Galilee, Jesus spoke the most important words in all of history. Today, we call these 48 words the Great Commission, and these words define the mission of the Church. It is hard to describe how powerful these 48 words are and how profound their impact has been on society. Let’s take a closer look at this incredible call to action.
“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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In a couple of sentences, Jesus set in motion the entire movement of the Christian Church. Over the next two thousand years, this movement would continue to expand and make the greatest impact on humanity of any movement in history.
The Great Commission is just as important today as it was two thousand years ago. Jesus words’ have the same potential they had when He first spoke them. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Great Commission.
First, the Great Commission is a Statement of Direction: Jesus gave the Great Commission as marching orders for His Church. It was intended to give the Church continued clarity until Jesus returned. The Great Commission is why we exist. It is what we do.
Jesus had great clarity when He gave the Great Commission. He was not the least bit ambiguous. Jesus was defining a clear and specific target for the Church for the future. As Jesus left this world, He wanted to make sure we knew what He left us here to do.
The sad thing is that many churches and Christians have lost sight of the Great Commission. Many church leaders have not defined the Great Commission as our main mission. Many Christian leaders have not focused on Jesus’ main priority. Many churches today are busy, but busy about the wrong things.
Secondly, The Great Commission is a statement of action: Jesus did not give the Great Commission to be printed on church letterhead or be the theme for a missions conference. Jesus wanted the Great Commission to be carried out. He wanted us to apply His words to our lives and ministry. Jesus intended for us to go into all nations baptizing and teaching like He had done.
When Jesus gave His famous last words, His disciples understood that they must carry them out. Jesus did not state these words to be oratorical but rather to be behavioral.
Some Christians have failed to obey the Great Commission because they’ve never seen a model carrying it out. Often we learn by example, and that means many people never make disciples because they have never seen another Christian make disciples. It is incredibly easy to get distracted. If our enemy can distract us with carrying out good things, we will never go about accomplishing the best thing.
Lastly, The Great Commission is a statement for mobilization: Jesus didn’t speak the Great Commission for only one generation, but for all generations. The last 48 words from our Savior were intended to launch a movement of multiplying disciples. These words would be replicated and reproduced until Jesus returned. Christ’s last words should be our first priority.
In order to live out the last command of Christ, we need to make it a priority in our lives, and we need to make it personal. We must flesh it out in making disciples who will make more disciples. We must take personal responsibility for the words of Jesus. The Great Commission is not just for missionaries and pastors: it is meant to be the priority for every Christ-follower.
Let me encourage you to do a little self-evaluation. Ask yourself three questions.
1. Is the mission of Christ clear to me?
2. Am I fleshing out Christ’s mission in a practical way in my life?
3. Am I sharing Christ’ mission with others and therefore passing that mission on?
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to inspire people and churches to be and build disciples of Jesus Christ. We want to help you carry out the Great Commission and follow the very model Jesus laid out for you. If we can help you with training, resources, or in another way, please contact us.