We’ve all read it, most of use have memorized it or can at least paraphrase it. But here it is per the NIV translation…by the way, was there an Old International Version?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I see Jesus telling us to do three things. First, go and make disciples. Second, baptize them. Third, teach them to obey His commands. Let’s look a little closer at each part of the commission.
Go and Make Disciples: This GO and MAKE seems to be quite a bit different from the ‘be prepared to give account for the hope within you’ as 1 Peter 3:15 says. It’s not waiting around for someone to ask, it’s more intentional than that. And just how do we make disciples(a learner, student)? I say we must have something that draws people to us. We have to be able to get people to want to be taught what we know. Jesus did this through love. “I don’t care how much you know till I know how much you care.” We (the Church) are told that we should be known for the love we have for one another, for our neighbors. And who is our neighbor? Whomever God sees fit to put in our lives or on our hearts.
Baptize Them: This was Jesus’ great commission to…only the 11 Disciples? Only ordained Ministers and Pastors? Elders and deacons? I think this commission was meant for everyone that would call themselves a christian. Unless I’ve missed it, I think this applies to us all. So the question is; When was the last time you baptized someone? Or have we all relegated that responsibility to “those other people?”
Teach them to Obey All Commands: First, this assumes we know all the commands ourselves and are able to explain them to all nations. Maybe some more study required, maybe some going out on a limb in calling ourselves a teacher, maybe a little less hypocritical behavior on our part thus allowing us to be heard by those Jesus said to teach.
James 3:1; “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” I suppose there could be a difference between someone who teaches and someone who calls themselves a teacher? All I know is Jesus said to teach…unless He wasn’t talking to us all, only the 11 Disciples left.
My belief is that we are all tasked with The Great Commission, and all three of its elements. We’ve got our orders, may we be about our Father’s business.
The best part is the last…”And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”