THE great commission (Matt. 28:16-20) is our Lord’s marching orders to believers. It was a mountaintop experience, which is always a good thing if we carry the vision into the valley. We read that they gathered where Jesus had appointed them. We shall never meet Him nor get His instructions until we are in the place of His will, the place where He has asked us to be.
I read next that they saw Him. We shall see Him when we get into the place of His appointment. There can be no real service until first we have seen Him. “They looked unto Him and were brightened, and their faces were not ashamed.” “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.” We see men, causes, challenges, but not the Lord. Isaiah saw the Lord and then was ready to go where God would send him. Paul saw the Lord, then asked, “What wilt Thou have me to do?”
Next, they worshiped Jesus. We will worship Him if we really see Him. Thomas cried, “My Lord and my God,” and Jesus did not reprove him for worshiping Him. Christian testimony and service are based on the worship of Christ as Lord, not upon admiration of Him as a teacher.
“But some doubted.” Yet our Lord did not send them away because they doubted. “A bruised reed He will not break.” These witnesses all grew strong and fearless, and our Lord knew they would. It is not well to send John Mark home on his first offense.
Jesus said first, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” He shows us first His resources, the power that is back of His orders. In Matthew 11:27-28, He says in effect, “All things are Mine, come.” In John 17:2-3, He says, “All power is Mine, believe.” Here it is, “All power is Mine, go.” We often flinch before our task, but we need to remember who is back of us. He is with us, as He also says here, but first He is back of us.
“Go ye therefore.” We build churches today and wait for the people to come. Here we are bidden to go after them in the highways and hedges. Too many churches are glorified clubs that have forgotten about the shepherd seeking the sheep.
“Disciple all nations.” Soul-fishing is the Christian’s business. We are not to uplift, reform, cultivate them, but to bring them to know the Lord. We have forgotten our commission and are out proselyting, calling the righteous to repentance, instead of bringing men to Christ.
Then we are to baptize them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Notice, discipling and baptizing go together, and we have no business separating them. In Acts, baptism immediately followed conversion. There was no thought of using one’s opinion about being baptized or not, it was the very next step. At Pentecost, in Samaria, in the case of the eunuch, Cornelius, Lydia, the jailer, they obeyed at once.
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Not just to know them but to observe them. We have neither learned nor taught a Bible truth until we have observed it, put it into practice. As preachers and teachers we should, like lawyers, strive for a verdict and seek to bring to action. Our Lord concludes with a promise to be with us always, even unto the end of the age. He who has all power will be with us all the days, the good and bad, the sunshiny and the shadowy.