What is the Great Commission?
The Great Commission is a call from Jesus, originally intended for the disciples but passed on to all Christians, that instructs believers to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. The primary Bible verse that records the command of the Great Commission is Matthew 28:19-20 which reads, “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” (ESV).
The King James Version (KJV) uses the terminology “teach” rather than “make disciples” which is more transparent. This call goes out to all Christians and instructs believers to baptize and make disciples of all nations. These words of Jesus would have stunned the disciples, as, before this moment, Jesus had only sent them to spread the good news to Jews. This is significant because it calls Christians to get out of their comfort zone and reach those who have not been reached. This includes diverse nationalities, locations, cultures, languages, men, and women.
Why is the Great Commission important?
The Great Commission is of great importance because it is mentioned in scripture which Christians believe to be words directly from God. It is of extreme importance however because the words recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 were the final words of Jesus while on Earth (before the ascension). This command is also practically important in the history of the church as well as in our current times.
If the apostles never listened to these words from Jesus, then there would be few churches and fewer Christians, which would have devastating implications for the rest of the world. Contemporary followers of Christ share this call with the founders of the church and these words ought to have an influential impact on our lives. Even if one chooses not to go to the ends of the Earth to spread the Gospel, they are still called to do it in whatever environment they find themselves in, whether that is a hospital, a bank, their school, or even a construction site. Ultimately, the Great Commission is important because it is from Jesus, and it affects everyone in some manner.
How many times is the Great Commission recorded in the Bible?
The Great Commission is mentioned in the Bible four times. These occurrences are in Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:44-49, and Acts 1:8. These mentions are revelatory because few topics are covered in the Gospels and Acts this frequently. Multiple acknowledgements of anything in the Bible are noteworthy which further speaks to the importance of this call.
How can I be a part of the Great Commission?
Now that we know the significance of the Great Commission, it is meaningful to find how you can be part of this ever-important call from the mouth of Jesus. The first way we can work to fulfill the Great Commission is to pray for the opportunity to disciple others.
Prayer is one of the most essential aspects of the Christian life and without it, we are unlikely to succeed in what we set out to do. The Scriptures claim, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14, NIV).
It is also critical to be intentional in making disciples. As humans, our nature is to drift. Without intentionality, we will never teach people about Jesus and how to follow Him well.
Sharing the Gospel also will require a step of courage. One of the ways to do this is to go on a short-term or long-term trip to gain cultural experience and be surrounded by like minded believers with the same goal. For some, this will bring up a negative connotation of “tentmaker missionaries,” however, there is another way to spread the Gospel that a lot of people have yet to discover.
God has gifted everyone with specific interests and talents that we are to glorify him with. As Christians, we are to excel at whatever we do, and what better way to share the Gospel with unreached people than to go where they are, do what we were called to do, and do it well? The world is in need of doctors, teachers, electricians, plumbers, engineers, accountants, IT specialists, and most importantly people passionate about sharing the overwhelming love of Jesus Christ. You can take your job and skills overseas to be planted in an area that desperately needs Jesus and intentionally disciple those in your new home through your everyday life. If this is an area of interest for you or someone you know, our team at OM USA would love to talk to you more about this!