All of my life I have heard preachers speak of “the great commission.” The term is a reference to the final command that Christ gave to His disciples and to the New Testament church. It is great both because it is given by the authority of the Lord Jesus and because it impacts the eternal souls of men.

If our Lord says something once it demands our attention. When the same command is repeated throughout Scripture it is a Holy Spirit inspired emphasis and a reminder that must not be forgotten! Each of the four gospel writers records the great commission in his own  unique way. (Luke records it twice!) Each account is given in a varied setting but all agree on the one thing Christ has given us to do – get the gospel out and bring people in.

  • Matthew 28:18-20. The first gospel record reveals Christ as the King of the Jews and is full of Old Testament references and fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah. It is significant then that Matthew is the first to tell us that the heart of God and the message of Christ is for “all nations…unto the end of the earth.” As Paul would later write: “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
  • Mark 16:15. The gospel of action gives the most succinct statement of Christ’s command. So simple. So profound. “Go…preach.” It is important to recognize that this plain imperative is found in the record that reveals Christ as the perfect, obedient Servant. As surely as He obeyed the Father we are to obey Him.
  • Luke 24:46-48. We know that the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and all of the implications of His work (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Luke’s primary emphasis is on the witness to the resurrection. God chose a physician to emphasize the supernatural – Christ did what even medicine could not do: He rose from the dead!
  • John 20:21. The final gospel record provides an interpretation of the other accounts. It is fitting that John’s statement then emphasizes the peace that Christ brings and the charge that we have been given to share that peace with others. Our message is not just history; it is a present-tense salvation.
  • Acts 1:8. Often called “the fifth gospel record,” Acts tells us of the continuing work of Christ through the Holy Spirit in His church. In this last great commission record we have the progress of the gospel beginning in Jerusalem and continuing to the “the uttermost part of the earth.”

If the commission is so great then so will our accountability be when we stand before Jesus someday! First century believers took the commission seriously and personally. They literally carried the gospel to the known world in a generation (Colossians 1:6, 23). Last day Christians will have much to answer for at the judgment seat because we have wasted so much energy on things that did not matter.

Yes, the great commission is given to the church. But the church is made up of individuals and the only way the great commission will ever be carried out is for individuals to obey it. The great commission has to become personal. How many times does God have to say it and how many times do we have to hear it before we begin to obey?

Enjoying the Journey

Enjoying the Journey exists to evangelize the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, encourage pastors and local churches, and equip believers to walk with God and serve Him each day. Through audio, video, and print resources we are seeking to preach the gospel, teach the Word of God, and reach this generation for Christ.

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