There is much debate today regarding who Jesus gave the Great Commission to that is found in Matthew 28. The discussion in my tribe circles the question of whether Jesus gave the mission mandate only to the twelve apostles (the clergy) or was it given to the larger group of disciples (everyone). While this might be a fun subject to debate, I don’t have the time nor the stomach to take that fight on. It would not achieve my ultimate goal of this blog being a place to encourage and inspire disciples on their journey of faith.
One of the main challenges you face when you take on a topic like this is people have very different understandings of the word “mission”. To address this, allow me to make sure we are at least talking the same language and define some key terms that will be used in this series.
The word “mission” means “sending.”
The term “missionary” is “one sent.”
Those tasked with the getting the gospel message out are called “missionaries” they are the “sent ones” of the Lord, ambassadors of Christ.
Having laid out the foundation and language moving forward let’s dig into the heart of discussion on missions.
The Missionary Command
As we begin this discussion, we will focus on two of the Great Commission passages.
19 “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, 20teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” Matthew 28
15He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned.” Mark 16
You can see the words are different, but the meaning is the same. Here is a recap of Jesus’ missionary command:
“I the Lord, Jesus Christ, who has been given all authority in heaven and on Earth, command you, my devoted disciples in every age to go to the ends of the earth, to teach all people of every tribe and nation my gospel. Make all people my disciples who in turn will produce other disciples to expand my kingdom to the ends of the earth.”
The Strategy is Simple:
Jesus first gave us the missionary command, and he also gave us the mission strategy.
- He said pay no attention to national boundaries.
“Go into all the world” translates as go wherever people live, breath, move and have their being. Find them. Join them on their life’s journey as they go about their daily lives.
- Have a sense of urgency that Mark 16 expresses.
“16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned.”
What a bold, majestic command of our Lord and Savior. No one else would dare make such a decree. Not only does Jesus command we “go out” this same Jesus backs up that order with all the authority of heaven and seals it with the promise of salvation in His precious blood shed on Calvary’s cross and verified with the empty tomb.
As this King Jesus, who has all authority and power, is about to take his rightful place on the throne of heaven. Jesus sends out ambassadors to the ends of the earth to proclaim to all the peoples of the land that this final King of the Jews. He is calling all the peoples of the land home under His kingship for all eternity. Our mission manifesto is that we go forth with the promise of Jesus’ personal presence and the backing of his almighty power. All the authority of heaven and earth supports this mission manifesto.
Next week we will look at the message and the missionaries.