Just before the Lord Jesus ascended back to Heaven, He gave the Great Commission to His followers in that day and to all of us to take the whole Word to the whole world (Matthew 20:18-20).  The word “commission” means “an authoritative command.”  He was giving us His desire to be engaged in reaching all people everywhere with the truths of the Bible.

The disciples who heard Him that day took Him seriously as they went into the world to share His Gospel with everyone.  Their message was so effective and their obedience was so thorough that they were accused by their critics as being those “that have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Yet, the sad reality is that many Christians have not reached across the street, much less around the world.  Somehow, they have come to believe that their Christian responsibility does not include evangelizing the world.  We have ignored the reality that Jesus commanded us to be active and aggressive in sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone.  Our commission is not to endure to the end, but to engage the ends of the earth with the message of God’s Word.

In speaking the Great Commission, our Lord first reminded us in vs.18 that He has all power in heaven and earth to stand behind these words.  The word “power” means “authority.”  There is no authority greater than His authority; therefore, His commission should have the highest priority in our lives. As Matthew Henry stated, “He did not assume it, or usurp it, but it was given Him.”  The triune God empowered Him to be the Head of His church and thereby the authority to command us to evangelize the world.  He not only commands us but empowers and enables us to effectually take the whole Word to the whole world.

Next, Jesus laid out the program whereby we could accomplish this task.  The four parts of the commission began with “Go ye therefore” (vs. 19).   Based upon His power and authority, we are to be going with the Gospel.  Just like Jesus came to this earth on a mission, we are going about every day on a mission to fulfill His commission.

The second part of this command is to “teach all nations” (vs. 19).  The word “teach” signifies that we are to make disciples of all ethnicities of people.  It is the only verb in this command in the imperative tense as the other phrases are all subordinate clauses.  That reminds us that this is the focus of the commission as we are to be preaching the Gospel and winning the lost to Christ.

The next aspect of the program is “baptizing them” (vs. 19).  The Great Commission does not end with the going and evangelizing, but it also includes guiding those you lead to Christ to follow Him in believer’s baptism.  Baptism is an outward expression of the inward experience of being born again.  It identifies the convert with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The final portion of the program given to us by the authority of Jesus is “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (vs. 20).  This word translated “teaching” means “to instruct, expound and explain.” The focus of this teaching is not the accumulation of Bible knowledge, but on developing obedience to His commands as “observe” speaks of being watchful to keep or obey what is given.  The Christian life is much more than just what you believe as it includes how you behave.

Jesus concluded His commission with the promise, “and, lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world” (vs. 20).  The essence of His promise is His presence.  His presence is promised to us as we actively engage in this matter of evangelizing the world.  J.C. Ryle said, “It is impossible to conceive words more comforting (and) cheering than these.”  He has promised to guide and provide for us as we obey Him.  And He will do this “alway,” which includes all days, each and every day until the world ends.

Yes, we have a commission from the Lord.  The question is, “Are we obeying our Lord in taking the whole Word to the whole world?”  Will you join me in committing yourself in doing what Jesus has told us to do?