What Does it Say?
Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What Does it Mean?
Jesus is coming to His remaining disciples which number eleven now that Judas is gone. They are at an unnamed mountain in a region of Galilee in the Northern part of Israel away from Jerusalem.
Matthew 28:16–20 describes Jesus’ commissioning the eleven remaining disciples on a mountain in Galilee. He had given them a message to meet Him there. Now He appears and commands them to make disciples from the people of all nations on the earth. He calls on them to baptize these disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They must also teach these new believers to obey everything Jesus has commanded them to do. Matthew ends his book with Jesus’ promise to always be with those who believe in Him. (excerpted from BibleRef.com)
Jesus told His disciples to go with authority, evangelize, and teach them to observe. That is why I included verse 18 because He told them (and us) to go with authority.
I heard a pastor preach saying often when we hear the message on the Great Commission it can be felt as the Great Omission; it often induces guilt as the thing we don’t do enough, we omit it. Therefore, this reminder in verse 18 says go with authority. Jesus did not give us the Great Commission for us to feel guilt that we are not doing enough. He gave it to literally commission you and give you authority to do it.
The word commission is a military term, and it means to give an officer authority when you put him in a position. When you commission someone, you give them authority to function in that position. This is legally-transferred authority. This is what I mean when Jesus says He’s gives authority and gives the Great Commission. He is legally, by God’s rights and by God’s power, transferring authority to go make disciples.
So, don’t feel guilty today. Feel empowered!
What Does it Mean to Us?
This means this is my responsibility. I recall the commissioning moment when I heard this in my heart from the Lord, “Anna, until it breaks your heart that people are going to hell, don’t plant a church.” It was bold when I heard this, but I knew I needed to receive the commission that I was a part of the evangelism and the discipleship plan God had laid out.
We all are called to evangelism and teaching. It is not a call to induce guilt or shame that we don’t do it often enough. We can embrace that we have the empowerment to do this.
These disciples weren’t sent to a church; they had to find lost people and lead them to Jesus and then teach them to observe. This is for all of us.
Pray for empowerment to be felt and for a heart for the harvest.