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A Consistent Commission

A Consistent Commission

Many believers are familiar with Matthew 28:18-20, known as the Great Commission. But did you know that isn’t the only time we are commanded to take the good news of salvation to the nations? Each one of the Gospels, as well as the book of Acts, includes a commissioning statement: a charge from Jesus to carry the gospel to every corner of the earth. 

Jesus made each of these statements after His resurrection, in His last 40 days on earth. In this period, when He knew His time with His disciples was drawing to a close, He intentionally commissioned His followers—not once but numerous times. In fact, commissioning statements are part of both His first words to His followers after He arose and His parting message to them.

These statements weren’t just casual, “I almost forgot to tell you” remarks before His ascension, but strategic and vital instruction for the spread of the gospel and the growth of the Church. And each has a unique focus that helps us understand our role in taking the gospel to the nations. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

1. Matthew 28:18-20

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”[i]

The commission in Matthew makes it clear that we are called to go and not only share the gospel and seek to see people accept it, but to teach those who believe to follow Jesus in obedience. Our task isn’t once and done; it’s a process of discipleship.

2. Mark 16:15-16

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

Mark’s account focuses on proclaiming the gospel widely, to all the world and to all creation. It also tells us that this good news is for everyone who believes, motivating us to sow the gospel broadly, making the most of every opportunity so that others may hear of and embrace the salvation Jesus offers.

3. Luke 24:46-47

“He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”

In Luke, Jesus connects the commission with promises about Him in the Old Testament. As He does, He demonstrates that long before He walked the earth, God intended that His people would preach the good news of repentance and forgiveness—it was part of God’s plan all along.

4. John 20:21

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’”

In John’s Gospel, Jesus commissions His disciples right after appearing to them for the first time as the resurrected Savior: It’s the first thing He talks about after greeting them. As He does, He explains to the overjoyed disciples that they will be following in His footsteps, sent by Him just as He had been sent by the Father. We too follow this example as we are sent to continue the task begun by Jesus’ first followers.

5. Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus’ final words to His disciples before ascending into heaven describe the way in which the gospel will spread as the Holy Spirit enables them to share this message in their local community, in the surrounding regions and throughout the world. The rest of the book of Acts follows this progression as the good news is proclaimed in Jerusalem and then in Judea and Samaria, and it has been going to the ends of the earth ever since the days of the early church.

Together, these verses paint a fuller picture of the role we have as believers in making disciples among the nations. As part of God’s great plan of repentance and forgiveness, we’re commanded to proclaim the gospel widely, confident that it’s good news to all who believe. We’re charged with making obedient disciples rather than mere converts, recognizing that Christ has sent us just as He was sent from the Father—the question isn’t “Am I sent?” but “How am I sent?” And we know that the Holy Spirit will give us power to be witnesses both in our local communities and regions and to the ends of the earth.

These commands aren’t optional, nor are they just for specific followers of Jesus thousands of years ago. Each one is given in the context of the Body of Christ, meaning that the Church today is charged with taking the gospel to the nations. If you’re a member of Christ’s Body, you’re part of those who are sent! How will you respond to His commission?

 

If you’re considering how God might be leading you to fulfil Jesus’ commission to take the gospel to the nations, we’d love to talk to you! Email [email protected] to connect with us.

 

 



[i] All Scripture quotations taken from the New International Version.

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