Jesus Ensures the Great Commission Will Not Fail

| March 25, 2015

The better known a passage of Scripture is, the more likely it is that most Christians will fail to appreciate the larger context that informs it. We may all be familiar with Jesus’s teaching that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), but we may not understand what it has to do with Nicodemus (John 3:1ff) or the snake being lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14–15). Believers teach their children the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3–17), but do those children know what those instructions have to do with God’s mighty deliverance of Israel (Ex. 20:2)?

Perhaps no passage in Scripture suffers from this kind of contextual excision as does the so-called Great Commission in Matthew 28. If you ask most Christians what the Great Commission says, they’ll begin with Jesus’s commandment that believers should go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them. But look at what Jesus says immediately before and after the parts we typically trot out during “Missions Week” at church:

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…

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