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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
This passage is both an ending and a beginning. It’s a literal ending because it concludes the Gospel of Matthew. But it’s also a beginning in the spiritual sense, because the words Jesus gives to His disciples here launched the most influential movement the world has witnessed: the Christian Church.
Commonly referred to as The Great Commission, these verses unveil the Lord’s great and ongoing mission for His Church collectively and each Christian individually, a mission that continues to this day. For the believer in Christ, this is something that really needs to be understood or we won’t know, much less fulfill, our God-given mission. We gain an understanding of The Great Commission by seeing what it includes.
First and foremost, it includes a calling. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . ” This isn’t an optional suggestion but an imperative calling. It comes directly from Jesus to His followers. There’s a sense of authority, command, and order. There’s no negotiating or sidestepping that this is what our crucified Savior and risen Lord wants us to do.
It also includes an identification. Notice that we’re to baptize people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . ” Why? Because this establishes a person’s identity as they identify with God in their baptism. Every soul longs to identify with something or someone. They want to belong and be part of something bigger than themselves. What greater identity could one have then to be identified with God?
The Great Commission also includes a responsibility, as we’re to instruct people in “all things I have commanded you.” We are responsible to spread the teachings of Christ to those who need to know them. People desperately need to know about Jesus, and we are the chosen means of meeting this need. There are many other responsibilities in the spiritual life, but nothing should distract us from this one!
Lastly, it includes a promise. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Christ’s commission for us is accompanied by the promise of His presence with us. We never take a single step in His will apart from Him. In spirit, He is always with us, empowering, leading, encouraging, and simply being with us.
DIG: What is this passage known as and why is it so important to understand it?
DISCOVER: What does it specifically include?
DISPLAY: Consider the ways your own life is aligning with the Great Commission. How can this improve?
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.