The Great Commission(s)

I want to look at the three Great Commissions of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I will make note of the points in them, three unique elements of each. Each Great Commission is found in the last chapter of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Each GC is in the context of Jesus being resurrected and appearing to the disciples. 

In my study of each of these commissions, I have discovered that these three put together actually make a very good Gospel presentation from beginning to end. Working backwards Luke, Mark, and Matthew would make a great overview of our faith to a nonbeliever.

Matthew’s Great Commission, 28:16-20

[Mat 28:16-20 ESV] 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Authority: our commission comes from the highest authority so it carries the highest importance. This mission is in the name [read: authority] of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Discipleship: our commission continues post-conversion. Our mission is not to baptize, but to make disciples who, after being baptized, obey the Lord’s commands.
  • To the end of the age: Jesus’ presence is promised to the end of the age, which is how long this mission will last. Each generation of disciples obeys this command to raise a new one. 

Mark’s Great Commission, 16:14-18

[Mar 16:14-18 ESV] 14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 

  • Faith: our mission is to generate faith in the resurrection of Christ. Two options are given: 1) belief and baptism or 2) unbelief. Those who believe will be baptized. 
  • Salvation: our mission has very clear consequences and very high stakes. There is an urgency to our mission, to give people an opportunity to be saved. The path to be saved is clear.
  • Power: Jesus includes the miraculous signs at the hands of the disciples that verify the message of the gospel. These miracles give us confidence that the gospel is true. 

Luke’s Great Commission, 24:44-49

[Luk 24:44-49 ESV] 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 

  • Prophecy: Jesus’ death and resurrection were predicted by Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. This is God’s will and plan to save the world that was planned from the beginning. 
  • Christ’s suffering: The Gospel is Christ’s suffering and resurrection. There is no Gospel apart from this message. Our mission is to teach this event to the world. 
  • Geographical origin: Our mission is rooted in historical events and can be traced back to Jerusalem 30 AD. The Bible records the beginning of our mission that is now passed to us. 

Defining our mission from the Great Commission, 

  • our mission is all-inclusive, to all nations and all the world
  • our mission is to proclaim or teach, to verbalize the gospel

In Matthew’s GC, Jesus emphasizes:

  • our mission is by God’s authority, why we obey and what we call other to submit to
  • our mission is to create disciples, those committed to learning and practicing
  • our mission includes baptizing by the name of the triune God
  • our mission includes teaching people to obey Jesus’ commands
  • our mission lasts to the end of the age

In Mark’s GC, Jesus emphasizes:

  • our mission is to generate faith in the resurrection of Christ
  • our mission is to offer salvation to escape condemnation 
  • our mission is enforced by the past miracles that prove the gospel

In Luke’s GC, Jesus emphasizes: 

  • our mission is to preach a message predicted and prophesied by God
  • our mission is to preach the gospel which is Jesus suffering and being resurrected
  • our mission is to call people to repent to be forgiven of sin
  • our mission started in Jerusalem where Jesus gave the GC and offered his HS
  • our mission began with the Apostles and it continues to today with us

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