“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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The great commission; it's the foundational MISSION STATEMENT for the church. Over the next several posts I'm going to break these amazing words from Jesus down and consider their meaning for us today.
Let's begin--at the beginning :-)
When we think about THE GREAT COMMISSION, often times we launch right into the "...go make disciples..." part---which is super awesome and important---but--the words that precede these are crucial.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Okay, let's consider a rhetorical question: "How much authority is ALL?" That's like, A LOT, isn't it? That's like every single bit of authority there is--not just on earth BUT IN HEAVEN TOO! God the Father has actually given ALL of His authority to his Son Jesus. So, stated plainly--Jesus is currently in charge of EVERYTHING. He is Sovereign over every facet of life. NOTHING is beyond the scope of his sovereign authority.
Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 15 that at the end--when all things are restored--Jesus will return all of that authority to His Father, "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power." (Vs. 24)
But in the meantime, He is in control -- and here's how that applies to THE GREAT COMMISSION: As His disciples, we are commissioned to go and make disciples---NOT on our authority, but His. As we shine for Christ in our circle of influence we do so as ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).
Here's a helpful definition of an ambassador: "Generally speaking, an ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation. Sent to a foreign land, the ambassador’s role is to reflect the official position of the sovereign body that gave him authority." (GotQuestions.Com)
So, when Jesus says, "Therefore go and make disciples..." the word THEREFORE means, "BASE ON MY AUTHORITY." It's crucial for us to understand that Jesus never intended for any congregation or individual disciple of His to try to accomplish the Great Commission in their own wisdom, authority, or strength. He clearly said, "I will build my church..." (Mat. 16:18). It's not our job to make the church grow. It's our job to faithfully follow, represent and share Him with others--He'll take care of the rest.
The early church in Acts never asked, "How can we make the church grown?" They simply devoted themselves to following Jesus as Lord and loving one another as He commanded (Acts 2:42, Jn. 13:34-35) "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47). Pretty cool eh?
As you go through your day--remember--you're not alone. Christ is with you. As His ambassador, you are commissioned with His authority--so go forward with Godfidence and shine!