Have you heard of the great commission given in Matthew 28: 18-20?
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
This is a foundational doctrine to the Christian faith and one that is empowering and exciting. In our last few posts we have discussed the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the importance of understanding why He came to earth. We’ve discussed salvation and why it is necessary for us to accept the gospel. Now we have a responsibility and a commission as followers of Christ to share the message of Jesus Christ and the hope that we have through Him.
In verse 18 Jesus claim that “all authority has been given to me on heaven and on earth.” This is an important statement as it reflects on his death and resurrection. Of course being God He had all the authority to begin with but the plan of salvation was now complete for mankind. I we read in John yesterday, “the fullness” had come. This is the gospel, the good news. Christ has conquered sin and death and the price of atonement for sins was paid. We can have full confidence in the authority of our savior.
Jesus told his disciples this shortly before He ascended back into heaven to rule at the right hand of the Father as our mediator and king. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Notice He didn’t say a few, or just jews, or just the nations willing to listen; He said ALL. It is from these words of Christ that we understand the importance of evangelism and missionaries. Once we are saved and have learned the things pertaining to life and godliness we are to share them with the world. We have a king whom all authority has been given, he has risen from the dead and paid for our sins with His own life. This should invigorate us and motivate us to share with others.
He then tells them to baptize those who believe, in the name of all three persons of the triune Godhead. Baptism is something that follows salvation and is an outward showing of the inward commitment to Christ. If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and as the all sufficient sacrifice for your sin, then I urge you to be baptized. This symbolic act enters you into a covenant before all who witness it (and before God) that you have made that commitment in your life and you are now accountable before them to fulfill this great commission. We baptize in the name of the Father, Son, And Holy Spirit because that is who God is and all three parts of the co-equal Godhead have played a role in your redemption.
Finally we are to teach that which Christ taught and commanded. This is what we call discipleship. Training up of men and women of faith in the things that Christ taught us so that they are equipped to carry on the mission of the gospel. This is how we become stronger as a body of believers and continue this process of evangelism to the nations. Remember as Jesus said, “lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We have a God who loved us, died for us, gave us a means of salvation, and now has all the authority and is with you every step of the way as you strive to honor Him!
Wow, what a message of hope. Today as we go about our lives remember this empowerment and authority that has been given us through Christ and speak boldly the things which you have believed. Go and make disciples!