Did you know in a recent survey** the majority of professing Christians did not know the term great commission or its meaning?
If you are 40+ years old and raised in the church, chances are you’re familiar with the verses known as the great commission and what they mean, but those younger in age or even new in their faith may not know which verses it refers to or has never heard the term.
If you search for great commission in the actual scriptures, you won’t find it. Surprised? Jesus never coined the term. You might find it as a heading in your Bible (depending on the version) before Matthew 28:16-20. This passage of Scripture recounts the telling of Jesus’ last instruction to the disciples before He ascends to heaven after the resurrection and is known as the great commission.
‘And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”‘ Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
The Great Commission is an Invitation…and more
The great commission is an invitation to be a partner in ministry, not just with other believers, but with Jesus Himself. It is a Co-Mission in partnership with the Holy Spirit to share the gospel message in our little corner of the world.
Jesus doesn’t just invite us into this co-ministry with Him; He gives it as a command. He speaks from a place of authority and provides clear, direct instruction for His followers, “Go!”
There are no loopholes in His words. He doesn’t say “if you feel like it” or “if it’s convenient” or “when you get around to it.” While Jesus invites us into the ministry partnership, He speaks with an expectation of our obedience.
What does Jesus expect of me?
In the verses known as the great commission, Jesus’ primary instruction is for His followers to make disciples. He spent three years inviting the apostles to follow him and showed them how to share the Father’s love, the Scriptures’ truths, and to make disciples of those around them.
“And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19 (ESV)
He expects His followers to share the good news of forgiveness and salvation with everyone they encounter, no matter where they travel. But you don’t have to be a missionary in another country to fulfill the great commission. Jesus means we are to share with those we encounter in our everyday lives—friends, family, co-workers, and our community.
There are several ways we can choose to join in with Jesus to share the gospel with those around us. We can tell how we first became a believer of Jesus and how He has been faithful in our lives. We can live in such a way others can see we have relationship with Jesus. We show the love of Jesus by serving others in the community. There are many ways to spread the message of God’s redeeming love for us.
Have you ever heard of the great commission before today? If not, what is something new you learned?
What does it look like to you to share Jesus? What are some ideas you can give us on how to show the love of Jesus to others?
Could you share with us in the comments below?
**Translating the Great Commission, Barna Group, https://www.barna.com/research/half-churchgoers-not-heard-great-commission/
Stephanie K Adams is the founding Director of Real Women Ministries, where she equips women with resources for Bible Study and prayer. She is passionate about helping women find time for God’s Word in the midst of their busy lives.
Stephanie is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach and author of In the Shadow of the Cross: Following Jesus Through His Last Days and is a contributing author to Bearing Fruit: Living Rooted in Christ.