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The Great Commission and The Authority
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) – 18 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
The “Great Commission” as spoken by Jesus. This fundamental passage has to be at the core of all a Christian does and all any group of Christians do no matter if they are a church, a part of a church, a para-church organization or a group of Christian friends. At all levels this is your mission statement, your calling and should becomes the basic foundational drive of all you do as a believer.
The message is very basic, but can often become lost in the systems and plans of groups and individuals in a way that many individuals feel this is not for them to do because it is not their job. The fact is that the way this statement was made and how this passage reads it is clear that every individual is called by Jesus to do this by the power and the guidance of Christ Himself.
The first statement here is the fact that
Matthew 28:18 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) – 18 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
What is this “authority” and how is it relevant. Lets start with the word authority as defined in the dictionary:
› the power to control or demand obedience from others:
› An authority is someone with official responsibility for a particular area of activity:
Using this definition from the dictionary, Jesus has the responsibility for some area or areas of activity and has the power to control or demand obedience from some group. What areas of activity and who He is controlling or demanding obedience from will be defined by whatever He says next and the context.
In context Jesus is speaking to the eleven disciples that were to be the catalysts of what would become the church. The people to whom He is speaking directly are the fathers of every Christian church.
Matthew 28:19 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) – 19 So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
They are instructed to “go make disciples.” In this translation the idea is also tied to being “wherever you go.” The instruction here is for them to not only go to everywhere on the earth to make something called disciples, but to do that everywhere they go.
The area of responsibility that Jesus has been given can be seen as two distinct areas from what we have read so far: the first is obvious because the passage said it: all authority in heaven and earth” which includes the entire world. The second is clearly and more directly to those who are His disciples (in this case the ones He is speaking to).
The responsibility that He is delegating is for each of them to do their part in making more disciples. They are the instruments that He will use to exercise His authority as well as being subjects of His authority.
Then, these disciples are told to take the people that are willing to become disciples like them and have them make an outward expression of being under this authority by being baptized. These disciples will not only learn new things will be washed of the old and brought into the new way of living that is voluntarily living under Christ’s authority.
Matthew 28:20 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) – 20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
Here we find the definition of what a disciple is and what it means to make one. A disciple is a person who is taught TO DO everything that Jesus taught the Disciples He is talking to here to do.
The big teaching being the teaching given in the context of this statement: The teaching to go and wherever you go make disciples that get baptized and do everything that Jesus has commanded those disciples because of his authority over the world and over each person in it.
For most people, there is some limiting factor to our ability to do this and for some of us this seems impossible or as if our job is to just give support to the others that do this.
While there is something to be said for that, the truth is that each person who is truly a disciple is to go and wherever you go you are to make disciples in the manner outlined here. If that seems impossible, then that is awesome. That simply means you understand the fact that you cannot do it. If you could do it on your own power then what would you need God for. It is His authority that you are exercising, not your own. It is his power that you are exercising, not your own.
This is the core component of our relationship with Jesus is living this out. This is to love Him and be a disciple of His. Sitting in a building full of people who believe in Jesus, giving money or other support to others who do this, and such things are great and are amazing expressions of your belief, but are not what you are told here to do. That is not the “go” or the “everywhere you go” that Jesus taught his disciples to teach their disciples of Him that they would teach.
There are places and people that you as an individual are the person Jesus has put in place to spread his “authority” over.
This actually is impossible for you and is outside of what you are wired to do. That is why you need Jesus. This is the point:
REMEMBER THAT JESUS IS ALWAYS WITH YOU UNTIL THE END OF TIME!