17 Dec Mission Possible
By Kumar Aryal – AsiaCMS Co-Mission Partner
Last words are very important. Last words that people say reveal what is closest to their heart. In Matthew 28:18-20, we find the last words of Jesus. These last words are usually called the ‘Great Commission.’
“Commission” refers to an ‘authoritative command’ or a ‘directive.’ So, when Jesus spoke these last words, He was actually giving an authoritative command to His disciples. And it is the same command He has given us today. Now, the question is, how do we accomplish what He has commanded?
Let us begin with verse 18 where Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This is one of the most crucial statements that Jesus ever made. The word authority could have different meanings in different contexts; but in this context, it means “to rule,” with emphasis on the scope of His rule.
God gave that authority to Jesus Christ on the basis of His victorious resurrection from the dead. Paul declares in Philippians 2:9-11: “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
So, to be a disciple of Jesus is first and foremost to acknowledge and to submit to His authority.
He has authority over our life and everything we do. No matter where He leads, no matter what circumstances we face, He is in control. Since God has all authority, we can pursue Him and His mission without fear and doubt. And based on that authority, we can make disciples; therefore, fulfilling the Great Commission begins with our submission to His authority.
In verse 19, we find the heart of the Great Commission, “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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
In the English language, it seems like Jesus is giving several commands: go, make disciples, baptize and teach. But in the original language, there is only one main verb in the Great Commission, “make disciples.”
Three other verbs, ‘going,’ ‘baptizing,’ and ‘teaching’ support the main verb. And the scope of this Great Commission is, “All Nations.”
You may think that this is impossible! How could those 11 men be able to make disciples of all nations? When Jesus commanded His disciples to “make disciples of all nations,” He was not referring to political nations. The word “nations” in the original language is “ethne,” which simply means a group of individuals with a common identity, based on common language, culture, or ancestry.
So, Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples from every ethnic people group. When Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples, He was basically asking them to reproduce themselves. And He is giving the same command to us today. Are we willing to obey His command?
Jesus concluded the Great Commission by comforting His disciples with a promise in verse 20: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This promise of His presence should comfort us and empower us to make disciples. But, we are mistaken if we think that the Gospel message will always be received warmly.
At this very moment, Christians around the world are being persecuted, beaten, and even put to death for their faith. While the opposition is real and intimidating, we can hold on to His promise as we make disciples.
The Great Commission is God’s Mission! Our God, who loves the world so much, sent His only Son Jesus from heaven to earth. And today, He is calling us to partake in His mission. With people, this mission is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Therefore, the Great Commission is possible because it is God’s mission!