Question regarding "the Great Commission"
Hello, I have a question in my mind those days. I was used to heard and to tell people about Mt. 28. 18-20…“Go and make disciples…” When I look the context, it seems to me that Jesus was talking to the “eleven” disciples or apostles. Is this more for apostles, or do we complicated too much ourselves with the word disciples (student…). It seems that people put emphasis on saving soul and makes disciples…i’m not too comfortable. What is your thought on the verse please?
If you see what I mean ;-)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Hi Mel…Yes, of course Jesus was saying these things in Matthew 28:18-20 to those with the Gift and Calling of Apostle, not to the general Body of Christians. HOWEVER, might the specific Command still apply to “everyone” who is a Christian, in spite of who it was spoken to? Many Commands do apply to all, of course!
One way we can discover the answer to this good question is that Paul, John, Peter, Jude, James, Luke—NONE of the Inspired Writers of Scripture encouraged the Saints they wrote to in Ephesus or Thessalonica or Galatia or Corinth or any city to “go into every nation”. This total neglect on the apostles’ part to pass on this Command of such importance…could not be possible if Paul, John, Peter, Jude, James, Luke and the others actually believed that the Lord MEANT that “every christian should go into every nation”. We do NOT see the Apostles suggesting such a thing, nor do we see in the Bible that Christians from these various congregations in Ephesus or Thessalonica or Galatia or Corinth and elsewhere are moving around from city to city and country to country. There was of course some normal mobility amongst some, as we can see in Rom.16, but the normal Believer was never encouraged to or seen moving around constantly and doing so-called “mission trips” in the Record of the Bible.
It’s just not in there, as it would HAVE to be with such an Important Command, some of the last words while on this planet before He ascended. Under the leadership of those who knew Jesus personally and face to face and asked Him questions for seven week after His Resurrection—Christians were not taught to personally “go into every nation” nor do we see them doing such a thing in the Inspired Record called the Bible. A few did travel, and EVERYONE was “ready to give a reason for the Hope that was withIn them” and loved to “gossip the Word” everywhere with friends and family and in whatever travels they did and in the marketplace. Naturally! In the truest sense of that word. : ) But to suggest that “everyone” is “supposed” to “go into every nation” as many teachers and musicians have suggested—simply doesn’t bear up under consideration of the Scriptural context in Matthew 28, or, even more obviously, the Teaching and Life in the rest of the New Testament of those who knew EXACTLY what Jesus meant when He said it originally. Such an idea is disproven beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Having said that, “You ALL ought to be teachers by now” (Heb.5:12-14)! Even if the Scriptures are clear that all are not apostles, all are not prophets or teachers (Rom.12:5-8, 1Cor.12:28-29) in the “Gift” sense (Eph.4:11-17), that doesn’t mean that we don’t all want to proclaim His Righteous Rule and Kingdom and Love everywhere we can. So, Mel, you are correct. The Scriptures themselves prove that that particular Scripture was never thought to be a Command to “all Christians” in some general way by the apostles themselves, or the Christians who were closest to the Command in context.
But, still, NO ONE IN LOVE WITH JESUS CAN STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM and trying to make a difference for Him everywhere they go! If you and I do that because “we can’t HELP it!” then we can let Mat.28:18-20 take care of itself. : ) If you’ve “seen or heard” ANYTHING of Him, “you can’t HELP it”! : ) It’s automatic.
Love in Christ,