You know the Great Commission, right? Jesus said:
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. (Matthew 28:19-20a)
I’ve heard countless sermons and lessons on this important passage. It’s hard to think of a more central command in Scripture than this one.
And we often leave out the most important parts, just like I did above.
Here’s the entire Great Commission, including the parts we often skip:
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.”
This is so important that I can’t overstate it. The Great Commission begins with the authority of Jesus and ends with the presence of Jesus. Our part (making disciples) makes no sense apart from these, nor is it anything I’d even try if they weren’t true.
I’m banking everything on the fact that Jesus meant what he said.
All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus. As the risen Lord, he has absolute authority. He’s in charge, not just over heaven but over earth as well. As Charles Simeon said, “He is enabled to overrule every thing for the accomplishment of his own purpose.” Think you can make disciples apart from the authority of Jesus? Don’t even try. But with his authority, we have everything we need.
He is with us always. As we carry out this command, no-one less than Jesus is with us. Always. We have not been left alone to do this. A Companion is with us, and we can expect all the direction and support we need.
Again, Charles Simeon said, “Were it not for this encouragement, no man, possessed of reason, would presume to undertake [this command]: but depending on Christ’s promised aid, we do hope that our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”
I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing apart from Jesus’ promise of his authority and presence. I’m banking everything on the fact that he meant what he said. It’s the only way that church planting and evangelism could ever make sense.