Why are Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 called the Great Commission? We do not find that terminology in the Bible, except perhaps in the man-made headings which were not a part of the original text. From what I have read, it is not known for sure when and who gave Jesus’ words this name, albeit why. So, let’s do some pondering.
The “Commission” part is easy. This is a charge Jesus gave to His disciples as their mission to “go and make disciples.”
But, why is it called the “Great” Commission?
Perhaps it is great in the sense of significance. Jesus gave these instructions out of His full vestment of authority which would make them very important. While this command is not what He called the greatest (Matt. 22:37-40 – to love God and people are the greatest commandments), this was what we know to be His last instruction before leaving the earth.
Perhaps it is great in the sense of how it is so comprehensive. Disciples are to be made of “all” nations. Disciples are to be taught “everything” He commanded — taking people from salvation to becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus. And, the command is apparently in effect until the “very end of the age” as He promised to be with us as we go and make disciples for that duration.
Perhaps it is great in the sense of how it is to permeate all facets of our lives. The command to “go” and make disciples suggests that it is something that is a part of our everyday lives as individuals, not just “church life.” Yet, it is should be permeating what we do as a church as well. In the Train Church Leaders Practicum we have been looking at how the Great Commission affects all aspects of church life. Click on the following links to articles written to date.
- Budget Reflect the Great Commission?
- Church Growth & the Great Commission
- Church Facilities: Keep Functional
- Church Job Descriptions Reflect the Great Commission?
- Disciple-Making Schedules
- Overcoming Resistance to Change
- Policy Making & the Big Picture
- Record Keeping & Reporting: Assess Growth
- Safety Because of the Great Commission
- Staff Evaluations: The Great Commission Way?