Mark 16:15 declares, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (NLT). These remarks were addressed to the eleven Disciples when Jesus appeared to them as they were eating. However, I am convinced that this commission is not solely or exclusive to the work of the Disciples but extends to all of God’s people. In the next few paragraphs I want to discuss the Great Commission and second, how this commission is to all followers of Christ.
The Great Commission
Jesus met the disciples on a mountain where He had told them to go and said to them, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NLT).
There are three things that are contained within the Commission. First, make disciples. Second, baptize them. Although I believe people should be literally baptized in water, the implication of this is that this person is publicly professing, “I know what I’m doing. And I want you to know, I belong to Jesus Christ. I’m surrendered to His will in my life.” Finally, we are to teach them to follow God’s will.
The Commission is for All Followers of Jesus Christ
Jesus left the disciples with these last words of instruction: They were to make more disciples. The disciples’ mission is ours also. Some people believe that evangelism is for others. It reminds me of an incident that happened to Lieghton Ford.
“I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him.
Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, ‘Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to.’ The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, ‘Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night.’ Billy and I have had several good chuckles over that incident. Unfortunately, it underlines how, in the minds of many people, evangelism is the task of the [Big Guns,] not the [little shots]” (Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., p. 67).
The question is, is the Great Commission for Me, My Pastor, or the Disciples?
Paul told the Corinthian Church that they were supposed to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). When the followers of Jesus were scattered because of the persecution, the Bible records that they, not the Apostles because they were still in Jerusalem, but ordinary followers of Christ, preached the Word of God wherever they went (Acts 8:3-4). Paul told Timothy, his young protégé, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT).
So in light of these scriptures, is the Great Commission for you, your pastor, or the Disciples? The answer is all of the above.
Questions: Isn’t evangelism just for those who have this particular gift (Ephesians 4:11)? What are some creative and effective ways to evangelize?
(Note: We look forward to your comments. You may answer any, all, or none of the questions. If you wish you can pose your own questions or simply add your insight and viewpoint to the article.)