Read: Matthew 28:16-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)
Final words are important. I have read the words spoken and written by men and women who were dying in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The words tug at the heart. Among them are assurances of love, some ask for forgiveness, many wishing they had more time to complete the tasks they had left undone. They are words of farewell and messages of love and hope. Last words.
What is the message we want to leave to those who will follow us? What message would you want recorded as your final words?
Jesus’ final words have come to be known as “The Great Commission”. He precedes these words by saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, THEEFORE…”
He gathers his disciples together, one more time. He tells them to wait and pray. He promises they will be given power to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and world-encompassing (Acts 1:8). Then, he says: “Go… Make… Baptize… and Teach…”
He wants them to GO! Jesus’ followers need to get out of their seats, their comfortable places and Go! He tells them to MAKE DISCIPLES. Jesus’ followers are commanded to duplicate, replicate, propagate! We can do that with the help of his Holy Spirit indwelling us and empowering us to be his witnesses. He commands them, next, to BAPTIZE. The sacrament of baptism is the sign that the old life, the sinful one, the failing one, is dead; new life has begun! Finally, he says TEACH. Again, this is something we need the Holy Spirit’s help to do properly.
Then, Jesus speaks this IMPORTANT REMINDER: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Eugene Peterson in The Message puts it this way, “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
The Great Commission is a joint venture. We do not do it by ourselves. First of all, we are meant to do this together as Jesus’ followers. Together, we are to GO… MAKE… BAPTIZE… TEACH. There is strength in numbers! It is good to know that I do not have to do this alone. Second, the Holy Spirit is constantly with us! He is the one Jesus describes as the “paraklete”, the “ONE CALLED ALONGSIDE TO HELP US”! He is Jesus’ presence ever at our side! Together, we can do this thing we are commissioned to do! LET US GO, MAKE, BAPTIZE, and TEACH!