Read Matthew 28:16-20
Say what now?
The sheer scope of that responsibility seems nearly impossible today. It must have seemed even more overwhelming to the disciples as they first heard the words.
In terms of its breadth, they were to make disciples of all nations. These were not just geo-political entities around the Mediterranean rim. The nations included people marked by linguistic and ethnic differences around the globe…and that in a day when distances were long because of transportation limitations and because of xenophobic attitudes.
In terms of its depth, they were to make disciples not mere converts. People were to be baptized and taught all that Jesus commanded. That “all” was more than a single principle. And the teaching itself included more than sufficiently communicating content. It necessitated inspiring and equipping people to respond to that content in obedience.
The temptation might have been strong to ignore the commission because of its breadth or to consider it impossible because of its depth. Let’s face it…we are tempted to do that today. We can come up with good reasons to stay at home and not expose ourselves to racial/ethnic differences. And we find it difficult enough to wrap our own minds and lifestyles around the teachings of Jesus. Who are we to teach others? Yes, the “all nations” and “all He commanded” seem to be too much to ask.
Still, there are two more “all” statements that bookend this passage, moving it from the realm of the ignorable and impossible. First, Christ has “all authority in heaven and on earth.” On earth, planets and stars, plants and animals came into existence at His word (Gen. 1). In heaven, tens of thousands of angels are ready to respond at His bidding (Matt. 26:53). Shouldn’t we respond to that authority?
And Jesus closes the statement with the assurance that He will be with us “always.” We can rest assured that we will go nowhere without Him!
How will you engage the nations? The classic missionary plea is still valid today. We engage with the Great Commission as we…
- Pray. Pray that God would raise up laborers and pray for those serving and for those in need of the gospel.
- Give. By giving to the budget at Grace Church, you participate in local and global efforts to take the gospel to the unreached.
- Go. Will we go to them in our community? He also calls others to go to them in their own cultures.