The Christian community understands that the Great Commission refers to the charge of Jesus to evangelize the world. The main Scripture that is associated with this commission is Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. It was also recorded in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8, and referred to in several other scriptures.
A commission comes with certain implications. First, it is a command and not a request. It is not based on whether or not you feel like it or if it fits into your schedule. It is your schedule. Your life is to include this task as a main theme. It is of prime importance and not to be regulated into a lesser importance. People’s eternities are at stake and our love for our Lord as well as our love for others are our motivators.
Second, we are to go into all the world with the gospel message. God’s message is for everyone and everyone is important to Him. The Bible declares that it is not God’s will that any perish, but that all come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) There is no specific plan as to priority of order of importance but ‘as you go’ or maybe ‘where ever you go’ or everywhere you go is the order of the day. Further, it is an all inclusive plan to include all places. From the early church it was Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. Your Jerusalem is where you begin and includes that environment. Your Judea is the region just beyond your Jerusalem. Your Samaria goes beyond your Judea to include the more difficult places for you to include your prejudices, or your enemies, or some other barrier you will need to cross such as distance or finances. Your uttermost part of the earth extends to include all peoples in all places and all circumstances.
The third implication is that we are to go in His power and not our own. It is so often said that I cannot afford to go on missions. God will finance His missions. I am not saying that it is a free ride and you have no responsibility in this. What I am saying is that all resources belong to God, they are not ours. The first place to go is to the Lord in prayer and seek His power to deal with this situation. Don’t attempt to do it on your own for you are commissioned to look to Him for the resources to go and the power to do His will. If you can accomplish the task without His power then it will frustrate the grace of God and you will get the glory. God has commissioned us to the ministry of reconciliation for more purposes than you can guess. It is partly for the ministry to others, but just as importantly, for us to grow in our own faith and love. The struggle to reject our own efforts as the solution and to tap in to God’s power is equally important for us as it is to them.
The final implication that I will address is our witness. The apostles said that they were witnesses to what they had seen and heard. If you testify to that which you did not have first hand knowledge, then you become a false witness. Instead of revealing the God of glory, you now obscure the view and work against the Lord. You cannot give what you do not possess. You have to be real and cannot go beyond your own personal revelation. It is important to remember that you are in partnership with the Lord in this work and as you are being transformed into His image, He then uses you as His illustration of the message. It is His work and you are a part of that plan. The success of the word is not on you, but on Him. You are a witness of that success.