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The Great Commission: A Fresh Look At This Historic Event

Discover a fresh perspective on the historic event of The Great Commission. Gain new insights and deepen your understanding of its significance in today's world.

Last Updated:
December 25, 2023
  •  
8 Minutes

What is the Great Commission?

The Great Commission, a pivotal concept in Christian theology, refers to Jesus Christ's final instructions to his disciples before ascending to heaven. Found in the New Testament of the Bible, specifically in the books of Matthew and Mark, this commission outlines the disciples' duty to spread the teachings and message of Jesus to all nations. It challenges believers to go beyond their comfort zones and share the good news of salvation with people from every culture and background. The Great Commission serves as a rallying call for Christians worldwide to actively participate in evangelism, discipleship, and the growth of the Church. It emphasizes the importance of making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. By fulfilling the Great Commission, Christians strive to transform lives and bring hope and redemption to a broken world.

Biblical Context of the Great Commission

The Great Commission’s biblical context is in Mark 16:15-17 and Luke 24:46-47. In these passages, Jesus gives his disciples a clear command to spread the gospel to all nations.

In Mark 16:15-17, Jesus instructs his disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues." This passage shows Jesus' desire for his disciples to carry out his mission of sharing the good news with everyone.

Similarly, in Luke 24:46-47, Jesus says to his disciples, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Here, Jesus emphasizes the importance of sharing the message of repentance and forgiveness to all nations, starting in Jerusalem.

The background information further highlights the significance of the Great Commission. It reveals that Jesus gave this command to his disciples after his resurrection, just before his ascension into heaven. This shows that Jesus entrusted his disciples with the responsibility of continuing his work on earth by spreading the gospel.

In conclusion, the biblical context of the Great Commission, as seen in Mark 16:15-17 and Luke 24:46-47, highlights Jesus' command to his disciples to go and preach the gospel to all nations. This command, given after his resurrection, reflects Jesus' desire for his disciples to carry on his mission and share the message of repentance and forgiveness with everyone.

Meaning of the Great Commission

The Great Commission refers to the final instructions imparted by Jesus Christ to his disciples, as documented in the Book of Matthew, specifically chapter 28, verses 18-20. These verses are important for the Christian faith, as they outline the mission believers are called to fulfill.

In the Great Commission, Jesus commissions his disciples to go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that he had commanded them. This command reflects Jesus' desire for his followers to spread the message of salvation and love to the world.

Understanding the cultural context is crucial in interpreting the meaning of the Great Commission. During the time of Jesus, there was a prevailing perception of Jews as the chosen people, primarily focusing on their salvation and religious practices. However, Jesus challenged this limited perspective by instructing his disciples to extend their reach beyond their community and spread the good news to all nations.

Therefore, the Great Commission serves as a call for Christians to engage in evangelism, actively sharing the teachings of Jesus and the necessity of salvation with people from all walks of life. It emphasizes the responsibility of disciples to reach out, baptize believers, and teach them the ways of Jesus, enabling spiritual transformation and the growth of the Kingdom of God.

What Is the Central Concern of the Great Commission?

The central concern of the Great Commission, as found in Matthew 28:19-20, is the imperative to baptize and teach all nations. In this passage, Jesus gives his disciples this command before ascending to heaven. He instructs them to go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that he has commanded.

The keyword "central concern" highlights the primary focus of the Great Commission. Jesus emphasizes the importance of spreading the Gospel message to all people, without discrimination or exclusion. Baptizing symbolizes a person's commitment to follow Christ and become part of his community of believers. By baptizing individuals from all nations, Jesus instructs his disciples to embrace and proclaim the universality of the Gospel.

Additionally, the keyword "teaching" signifies the continuation of discipleship after baptism. Jesus commands his disciples to teach new believers to observe all he has commanded. This implies the transmission of knowledge and the cultivation of a transformative relationship with God. Through teaching, believers can live according to Christ's teachings, grow in their faith, and become disciplemakers themselves.

Historical Significance of the Great Commission

The Historical Significance of the Great Commission stretches back to the early days of Christianity and has profoundly impacted the development and spread of the faith throughout the world. Jesus Christ's command to his disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations" has been a rallying cry for Christians for centuries, urging them to actively share their faith and convert others to Christianity. From the apostolic era to the present day, the Great Commission has motivated believers to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, leading to the establishment of numerous Christian missions and the translation of the Bible into countless languages. It has played a crucial role in shaping the history of Christianity, as it has encouraged believers to engage in evangelism, establish churches, and bring about spiritual transformation in people's lives. Additionally, the Great Commission has influenced the development of missionary strategies, the formation of denominations, and the growth of Christianity as a global religion. This command has not only contributed to the preservation and expansion of Christianity. Still, it has also fostered a sense of purpose and mission among believers, fueling their passion for sharing the message of salvation.

Origin and Development of the Great Commission

The Great Commission originated from the final instructions Jesus Christ gave his disciples before his ascension into heaven. It is recorded in the New Testament, specifically in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28, verses 18-20. Jesus commanded his followers to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey everything he had commanded.

The development of the Great Commission can be seen throughout the New Testament as the disciples faithfully carried out Jesus' command. The book of Acts provides a detailed account of the early Christians spreading the message of Jesus to various parts of the world. The significance of the Great Commission lies in the fact that it is Jesus' final instruction to his followers, emphasizing the importance of sharing the good news of salvation.

The relevance of the Great Commission extends to every follower of Jesus, as it is a call to evangelize and share the message of salvation with others. It reminds believers of their responsibility to spread the love and teachings of Jesus to all people. The Great Commission also highlights the universal nature of Christianity, as it instructs disciples to reach out to all nations. This command is a reminder that the work of sharing the gospel is not limited to a select few, but is the responsibility of every believer.

How Jesus Calls Us to Action with the Great Commission

The Great Commission, given by Jesus to his disciples, is a powerful call to action for Christians. In these instructions, Jesus reveals his plan for spreading the Gospel to all nations, urging his followers to go forth and make disciples of all people. This divine calling has inspired and continues to inspire countless individuals to actively share the message of God's love and salvation. It serves as a guiding principle for believers, emphasizing the importance of evangelism, discipleship, and obedience to Jesus' command.

What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus' Command?

Following Jesus' command entails a deep commitment to live by His teachings and to grow spiritually. It means more than acknowledging His words or having knowledge of His commandments. Instead, it requires actively applying His teachings in our daily lives and seeking to become disciples who reflect His character and love.

Throughout the Bible, there is a strong emphasis on spiritual growth and living out the teachings of Jesus. Jesus himself said, "If you love me, keep my commands" (John 14:15). This implies that following His command is not merely an intellectual exercise but a demonstration of our love for Him.

To truly follow Jesus' command, we must go beyond head knowledge and engage in a deep, personal relationship with Him. This relationship should impact every aspect of our lives – our thoughts, words, actions, and relationships. It is a journey of transformation where we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, conforming us to the image of Christ and empowering us to live a life characterized by love, compassion, and obedience.

In addition, following Jesus' command means intentionally living out His teachings in our interactions with others. It means forgiving as He forgave, showing mercy as He showed mercy, and loving others as He loved us. Our actions should reflect His love, grace, and truth.

What Are We Called To Do?

As believers, we are called to take specific actions to fulfill our mission of spreading the gospel. Our responsibility extends beyond our salvation to reach out to others and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Firstly, we are called to reach out to those in our current sphere of influence. This includes our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate Christ's love and share the gospel with those closest to us.

We are called to impact our local community. This involves actively participating in outreach programs, volunteering in local ministries, and supporting initiatives that benefit the less fortunate. By engaging with the needs of our community, we have the chance to represent Christ and invite others into a personal relationship with Him.

Our mission extends to the world’s nations, including unknown and unreached areas. We are called to support mission work, financially and through prayer, and actively seek opportunities to share the gospel globally. This may involve short-term mission trips, supporting missionaries, or partnering with organizations providing resources to needy areas.

Importantly, we must emphasize the significance of sharing the gospel with even the most undesirable or difficult people, including our family and friends. Christ's love knows no bounds, and we are called to extend this love to all, regardless of their circumstances.

Biblical Interpretation and Explanation of the Great Commission

The Great Commission, a significant biblical passage found in the book of Matthew, holds great importance for Christians as it outlines the fundamental mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. This passage has been studied and interpreted throughout history to better understand its implications and how to fulfill this divine mandate. Through careful biblical interpretation and explanation, believers seek to comprehend the overarching message of the Great Commission, its relevance in today's world, and the practical ways in which they can effectively carry out this mission in their daily lives.

Matthew 28:18-20 and John 20:21-23: Interpreting a Call to Action

Matthew 28:18-20 and John 20:21-23 highlight the Church’s call to action in making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching God's ways.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commissions his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. This passage emphasizes the universal scope of the mission, as Jesus commands his disciples to reach out to all nations. The call to make disciples implies the need for a personal relationship with Jesus, guiding others to follow him and experience salvation. Additionally, baptizing signifies the initiation into the Christian faith, symbolizing the believer's identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Finally, teaching God's ways encompasses instructing new disciples in the teachings and commandments of Jesus, ensuring a solid foundation for their faith journey.

John 20:21-23 complements this call to action by emphasizing the importance of sending the disciples out just as the Father sent Jesus. Jesus breathes on them and gives them the Holy Spirit, empowering them to continue his work. This passage reveals that discipleship and the spread of the Gospel cannot be accomplished in human strength alone but requires the anointing and leading of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, Jesus grants the disciples the authority to forgive sins, highlighting the role of the Church in reconciling people to God through the message of repentance and forgiveness.

Matthew 28:18-20 and John 20:21-23 provide a clear call to action for the Church. The Church is to actively engage in making disciples by sharing the Gospel, leading others to faith in Christ, and baptizing them as a symbol of their commitment. Simultaneously, the Church is called to teach God's ways, equipping believers with the knowledge and understanding of Christ's teachings and commandments. This holistic approach ensures that new disciples are brought into a personal relationship with Jesus, grounded in their faith, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Jesus in the world.

Luke 24:45-49: Exploring Jesus’ Last Words Before Ascending to Heaven

Luke 24:45-49 captures a crucial moment in the Gospel narrative where Jesus delivers his last words to his disciples before ascending to heaven. The significance of this passage lies in the instructions Jesus provides to his followers, empowering them to continue his work in his absence.

In these verses, Jesus opens the minds of his disciples to comprehend the Scriptures. He reminds them of the prophecies contained within the Old Testament that foretold his suffering, death, and resurrection. By doing so, he affirms his identity as the fulfillment of these prophecies. This revelation is crucial for the disciples' understanding of their mission and the message they are to proclaim.

By explaining the significance of his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus ensures that his disciples fully grasp the meaning and purpose of his ministry. He then commands them to go and proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. This instruction highlights the universal scope of their mission. The disciples are to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth.

The significance of Jesus' last words reflects the transitional moment for the disciples. With his imminent departure in mind, he empowers and commissions them to continue his redemptive work. The instructions in Luke 24:45-49 lay the groundwork for the birth of the early Christian community, which will soon be empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These words mark the culmination of Jesus' earthly ministry and set in motion the gospel’s spread beyond his physical presence.

Mark 16:15-16: Examining a Unique Version of the Great Commission

In Mark 16:15-16, we find a unique version of the Great Commission, which differs in certain elements from the versions presented in the other Gospels. Jesus instructs his disciples, saying, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

One distinct element in Mark's account is the mention of preaching the gospel to "all creation." This broader scope emphasizes the universal reach of the Great Commission, as believers are called to share the good news with people and the entire created order. This may highlight Mark's emphasis on the cosmic implications of the gospel message.

Mark emphasizes baptism as a condition for salvation. He states that "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." This is a notable difference from the other Gospel accounts, where baptism is not specifically mentioned as a requirement for salvation. Mark's inclusion of baptism emphasizes the importance of public proclamation and initiation through the sacrament.

While the fundamental message of the Great Commission remains consistent across the Gospel accounts, Mark's unique version highlights distinct elements such as the call to preach to all creation and the emphasis on baptism as part of the salvation process. These differences further enrich our understanding of the New Testament's central teaching on spreading the gospel.

Impact on Christianity Today

The global Christian vision has profoundly impacted Christianity today in various ways. One significant aspect is the emphasis on a unified and mature church. The global Christian vision recognizes the importance of unity among believers, regardless of their cultural or denominational differences. This emphasis has led to increased efforts in ecumenism and interdenominational collaborations, resulting in a stronger sense of unity and solidarity within the global Christian community.

Furthermore, the global Christian vision has expanded the church beyond its initial roots in Israel. From the early missionary efforts to the present day, Christianity has spread to every corner of the world. This expansion has occurred through missionary endeavors, evangelistic initiatives, and the establishment of churches in previously unreached regions. As a result, Christianity is now a truly global faith, with followers from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Lastly, the global Christian vision highlights the importance of healthy and whole churches. This entails nurturing and cultivating spiritually vibrant, socially responsible, and emotionally secure congregations. Such churches provide a nurturing environment for believers to grow in their faith and impact their communities positively. The global Christian vision has inspired the development of ministry models prioritizing holistic discipleship, community engagement, and servant leadership within the church. Consequently, believers today are encouraged to be actively involved in their local churches, contributing to the overall health and vitality of the body of Christ.

How Can We Live Out the Great Commission Today?

Living out the Great Commission today involves actively making disciples in various contexts and through different methods. One way to do this is through foreign mission trips. By going to different countries and cultures, individuals can spread the Gospel and make disciples of all nations, just as Jesus commanded.

However, discipleship is not limited to foreign mission trips. It can also take place through local outreach. Engaging with the community, serving others, and sharing the love of Christ are all ways to actively make disciples in your backyard. This can be done through volunteer work, street evangelism, or simply building relationships with those around you.

Teaching Bible studies is another effective method of making disciples. By sharing the Word of God, individuals can guide others into a deeper understanding of the Gospel and how it applies to their lives. This can occur in churches, small groups, or even one-on-one settings.

It is important to emphasize that making disciples involves proclaiming Christ through words and demonstrating His love through actions. It is not enough to simply preach the Gospel; our lives must reflect the teachings of Jesus. This means loving others, showing compassion, and living a life that aligns with our beliefs.

Living out the Great Commission today involves actively making disciples in various contexts through foreign mission trips, local outreach, teaching Bible studies, and engaging with different age groups. It is crucial to both proclaim the Gospel of Christ through words and demonstrate His love through actions. By following these principles, we can truly fulfill the commandment of Jesus to make disciples of all nations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Great Commission and its role in spreading the gospel and growing Christ's kingdom cannot be emphasized enough. It holds immense importance in the life of every believer as it is a command directly from Jesus himself. The Great Commission calls us to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This command is not optional, but rather an integral part of our faith.

By spreading the gospel, we are actively participating in the work of Christ, allowing others to hear the life-transforming message of salvation. As we share the good news, we contribute to the growth and expansion of Christ's kingdom on earth. Therefore, the Great Commission’s role is to mobilize every believer to actively engage in evangelism and discipleship.

Furthermore, the Great Commission serves as a reminder of our purpose as followers of Christ. It may seem daunting at times, but we can take comfort that we are not alone in this mission. Jesus promises to be with us always, empowering us through the Holy Spirit to carry out His command.

In embracing the Great Commission and fulfilling our role in spreading the gospel, we can experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from seeing lives transformed and communities impacted by the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore, wholeheartedly embrace the Great Commission and faithfully carry out our role in growing Christ's kingdom for the glory of God.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Great Commission in Christian theology?

The Great Commission in Christian theology refers to Jesus Christ's final instructions to his disciples before ascending to heaven. It can be found in the New Testament of the Bible, specifically in the books of Matthew and Mark. This commission outlines the disciples' duty to spread the teachings and message of Jesus to all nations. It challenges believers to go beyond their comfort zones and share the good news of salvation with people from every culture and background. The Great Commission serves as a rallying call for Christians worldwide to actively participate in evangelism, discipleship, and the growth of the Church.

 

Where can the Great Commission be found in the Bible?

The Great Commission can be found in the Bible in the books of Matthew and Mark. Specifically, it is mentioned in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-17.

 

What is the significance of the Great Commission in today's world?

The significance of the Great Commission in today's world is that it serves as a rallying call for Christians worldwide to actively participate in evangelism, discipleship, and the growth of the Church. It emphasizes the importance of making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. By fulfilling the Great Commission, Christians strive to transform lives and bring hope and redemption to a broken world. In a world that is in need of love, forgiveness, and salvation, the Great Commission challenges believers to go beyond their comfort zones and share the good news of salvation with people from every culture and background. It is a reminder of the mission that Jesus entrusted to his disciples and calls on Christians today to continue spreading the teachings and message of Jesus to all nations.

 

How does the Great Commission challenge believers?

The Great Commission challenges believers to go beyond their comfort zones and actively participate in evangelism and the growth of the Church. It emphasizes the importance of making disciples, baptizing them, and spreading the teachings and message of Jesus to all nations. By fulfilling the Great Commission, believers strive to transform lives and bring hope and redemption to a broken world.

 

What are the key components of the Great Commission?

The key components of the Great Commission are:

1. Spreading the teachings and message of Jesus to all nations: The Great Commission emphasizes the disciples' duty to share the good news of salvation with people from every culture and background.

2. Making disciples: It challenges believers to go beyond their comfort zones and actively participate in evangelism by making new disciples.

3. Baptizing believers: The Great Commission highlights the importance of baptizing new believers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

4. Participating in evangelism and the growth of the Church: It calls on Christians to actively engage in spreading the message of repentance and forgiveness, starting from Jerusalem and reaching all nations.

Overall, the Great Commission serves as a rallying call for Christians to fulfill their mission of spreading the teachings of Jesus, making disciples, baptizing believers, and actively participating in the growth of the Church.

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