Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“Jesus came….” Jesus took the initiative. When Jesus directs us, he has proven his faithfulness in being there to fulfill his purposes.
‘and said to them’… Jesus spoke to them in plain language. He had spent three years discipling the 11. He had these 11 as his only plan to bring his story of salvation to humankind. There was no ‘Plan B’. Jesus knew he was about to ascend back to his home with the Father. This would be the moment of his ‘famous last words’. Of all the important things that Jesus could have said in these decisive moments such as: love one another, help the poor, hold fast to the truth, love your wives, be faithful in worship, or repeating the beatitudes; and instead of delivering an hours long review of all he had taught them, Jesus had one simple imperative to deliver; to “go and make disciples.”
“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” … “Since all authority on earth is lodged in Christ’s hands, he can also clothe any and all of his servants with a sacred might by which their hands will be sufficient for them in their high calling. … having a divine power that will make them useful…. Only he who has all authority can work his bidding by a word and dispense with all force but that of love.” Spurgeon
“Go therefore, and make…” Whether seen as a direct command: “Go” or interpreted “As you are going…”, Jesus is expecting intentionality on the part of his disciples. And, Jesus said ‘to make’ indicating the action, the effort, the task or work to be done. It is not a passive life, but a committed life radically focused on this activity, the activity of ‘making’.
“…disciples of all nations…” These 11 men knew they were Jesus’ disciples. They knew he had made them by life-to-life exchange for the last three years. There was no doubt in their mind of what a disciple of Christ is, precisely, and that is precisely what they were to reproduce by the continuing grace of God. Having already established his absolute authority over the earth is his basis for “of all nations”. His universal authority was not to be misunderstood as over only a single people group, the Jews, though he tells them to go to the Jews first. Jesus clearly wants disciples reproducing in every people group on every continent and far reaching island. Jesus does not discriminate as man is so prone to do.
“…baptizing….teaching to observe all…” We are to welcome into the family of God, and to do what Christ did: share life-to-life to make disciples. Notice it is not book-to-life; it is not institution-to-life, but “all I commanded you”…that life-to-life reproduction that only his Spirit can effect.
“…I am with you always…” We are not Jesus’ partner in disciple-making. He is our Director and Enabler by his Spirit, if we will but obey; and in this all important work, he is always with us through His Spirit.
“…to the end of the age.” Lest we think that the Great Commission was only and exclusively for those who stood there that day, Jesus declares that he will not only be ‘with us‘, but extends his help in disciple-making through time “to the end of the age.” He certainly and intentionally included us, his future disciples, in the command.
Pray and ask God to show you who he would like you to personally engage in life-to-life disciple-making and spiritual multiplication. He will be ‘with you‘ in it for the ‘rest of the cruise’.