“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, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 18-20
After His resurrection, Jesus continued His early ministry for forty days. As His early ministry is coming to an end, Jesus has one last discussion with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Here Jesus gives His very last instructions before He ascends back into heaven. These verses are commonly known as The Great Commission. Jesus lays out some specific tasks that they are to complete: (1) make disciples, (2) baptize, and (3) teach. Some people say it’s only two tasks because they connect making disciples with teaching, either way, it does not make that much of a difference.
Everybody likes to have a plan. It doesn’t matter if you are working on a project at work, or a project around your house, you like to have a plan. The clearer the instructions, the better the task can be completed. Jesus is laying out a very simple plan for the disciples and believers to carry out. Jesus wants the Gospel everywhere; all people need to hear of the message of Christ. When reading Acts you see this plan begin, starting in Jerusalem, then to Samaria, and then to the Gentile (non-Jewish) world. The faith that we have is because of the spreading of that message. Discipleship does not stop at salvation, which is why Jesus also says “Teach them to obey my teachings.” Believers are to grow in their understanding of Christ and God’s Word.
The final task is baptism, and sometimes this can be a forgotten task in the lives of believers. But the fact that Christ mentions it gives it high importance. Baptism is something that happens after somebody puts their faith in Christ. It is an outward expression of the faith they have put in Christ. In some cases when a Muslim, Hindu, or someone from any other faith turns to Christ it is not their faith that gets them in trouble, but their baptism. The fact that they went public for all to see. They stood up in front of people and took the stand for Christ, and publicly confessed faith in Christ. Some of our best services at Faith have been times when people took that public stance and, in front of the church, expressed their faith in Christ. If you believe that Christ died for your sins and have not been baptized, I would encourage you to talk with church leadership and think about taking a public stand for Christ. – Seth
Further Reading – Acts 8:26-40