The Great Commission
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
Jesus envisions worshipers and followers present among every cultural-linguistic group on the planet. The remaining participles, which can have the force of imperatives, flesh out what is entailed in the disciple-making process. We go, we baptize, and we teach. “Going” implies being sent (see Rom. 10:15). “Baptizing” implies repentance and forgiveness as well as inclusion in God’s family (Acts 2:38, 41). “Teaching” makes clear that Jesus has more in mind than initial evangelism and response. He wants obedient, mature disciples, not just immediate decisions.25 Finally, this discipling task is possible, Jesus reassures his audience, because “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b). Such a far-reaching guarantee would not have been necessary if Jesus envisioned the apostles fulfilling the Great Commission. But a promise to the end of the age makes perfect sense if the work of mission also continues to the end of this age. Jesus’s promise extends to
DeYoung, Kevin. What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission, Crossway.