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 (Matt 28:19-20).
Imagine Jesus’ thoughts as he prepares to ascend to the Father. After three years devoted to training the disciples, he is leaving the future of the church in their hands. What will happen? Can he entrust his life’s work to unstable men like Simon Peter and Thomas? I would be skeptical! But Jesus’ answer was, “Yes, I will entrust my mission to these men. I have no ‘backup plan.’”
Robert Coleman wrote that Jesus’ only plan for reaching the world was “through the dedicated lives of those who knew the Savior so well that his Spirit and method constrained them to tell others.” Jesus commissioned the disciples to spread the good news of the gospel and to disciple new believers.
That was Jesus’ plan in the first century. And two thousand years later, his plan remains the same: that we who know Jesus will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to tell others. He has no other plan.
Look in the mirror. You are Jesus’ plan for reaching the world!
Do you find this statement exciting? You should! You and I have the incredible privilege of becoming part of Jesus’ plan for reaching our world.
Do you find this statement frightening? Don’t be afraid! You respond to this call with confidence because Jesus’ Great Commission is bracketed by a promise.
Jesus begins, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
He then gives the commission: “Go therefore and make disciples….”
He ends with a promise, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What a wonderful promise! Jesus says that he has all authority, all power, in heaven and on earth. And then, after giving us our job assignment, he says, “I will be with you as you carry out my commission.” You are not on your own! The one who has all power will be with you as you make disciples.
Lord, at times I am frightened by your Great Commission. I don’t feel capable of answering the challenge. You have promised that your Spirit will go with me as I seek to fulfill your call. Give me faith to trust you, and courage to step out in obedience to your commission. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more help on fulfilling the Great Commission, read Lesson 1 (“Accepting the Great Commission”) in the Shepherds Global Classroom course, Biblical Evangelism and Discipleship.