And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
Jesus’ final demand is that we never lose sight of the global scope of his claim on the human race. He is not a tribal deity. He is the Lord of the universe. Every knee will one day bow either willingly or unwillingly (Matt. 25:31-32). All judgment is given to him (John 5:22). The demand is that his followers reach the nations with “all that he has commanded.” This is what it means to make disciples—not just that they make a profession of faith, but that they “observe all that I have commanded you.”
The sovereign promise of Jesus stands firm: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). There is no maybe here. The mission that he gives to his followers to go and make disciples of all nations will come to pass. “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice” (John 10:16). “Thus it is written [and cannot be broken!], that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46). The mission to make disciples of all nations will succeed.
How the Great Commission Gets Done:
The certainty of success is guaranteed (Matt. 24:14). Jesus will see that it gets done. But it is in our hands to do it.
- By Prayer: We must earnestly pray that God will do what he promised he would do. Promises do not make prayer superfluous; they make the answer certain. (Luke 10:2)
- By Word: Then we must open our mouths and speak the truth of Jesus to all nations. (Matt. 10:27; Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 14:23; Luke 15:7)
- By Suffering: In all our prayer and speaking, we must be ready to suffer. (John 20:21; Mark 8:34).
Excerpt adapted from What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper.