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.
When we see the word “therefore” in the Bible, it’s often followed by an important revelation. So before we look at our responsibility for sharing the gospel, let’s look at the events that preceded Jesus’ proclamation.
The occasion was an appearance of the risen Lord to His disciples. Since Judas abandoned Christ, this was to be a meeting of the remaining eleven as specified by an angel who met the women at the empty tomb. Jesus later greeted the women upon their return and reiterated the message. “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)
In the preceding verse, we get a hint at what is meant by “therefore.” We’re told that they (the women) worshipped Him. Later, when His disciples saw Jesus on the mountain, they also worshipped the Lord. (v17)
Jesus had done what He said He would do. He died and was resurrected in three days. And they worshipped Him. He had proven to be more than a great prophet or teacher. Jesus was God, and He confirmed it with the pronouncement in verse 18. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
The first act of Jesus’ authority is called the Great Commission. Like a general before His army, Jesus gave marching orders to His disciples.
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… Matthew 28:19
Because of what they had witnessed and learned from Him. Because of what had been revealed to them about Him. “Therefore go…”
They were to take the Lord’s good news to the world. His message wasn’t exclusively for the Jews, but for all peoples. Their coming to Christ was to be followed by baptism. Baptism here means to dip or immerse. And it was to be done in the name of the Godhead, which again revealed Jesus’ unique authority as the second person of the Trinity, “Father… Son… and the Holy Spirit.”
In verse 20, Jesus clarifies His directive: “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” New followers were to be taught the commands of Christ. There’s more to discipleship than just leading people to Christ. They must also learn the doctrines of the faith and especially the teachings of Jesus.
Even though Jesus gave this great responsibility to His followers, He didn’t leave them without help. He added, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
That was then, and this is now. Did Jesus intend that commission for all believers or was it directed solely to His first disciples? The answer is both.
The Lord’s command was directed at all of us. Even in the Great Commission he declared that disciples are to be taught to obey all of His teachings.
All Christians have a role in proclaiming the gospel. That’s not to say we’re all evangelists or preachers. We help people see Christ by the way we live our lives and through our talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts.
We must first put ourselves in a position to be used. That comes through prayer, spiritual growth, and living a godly life.
What is your role in fulfilling the Great Commission? How have you prepared yourself to be used by God? If someone asked you the reason for your hope, could you tell them?
Don’t let shyness or social anxiety stand in your way. If you have a friend or loved one who needs Christ, ask your pastor or a Christian teacher to pay them a visit. Pray for the Lord to show you what you can do.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Do You Know the Way to Heaven?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.