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The Great Commission

Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (NIVUK)

Matthew chooses to end his account of the earthly life of Jesus with this 'great commission'. The eleven remaining apostles were present (Judas the betrayer was dead) even though some of them were really not sure what was going on. Having clearly stated the basis of His authority (Matthew 28:18), Jesus gave them instructions for their lives' work and the work for all of the world-wide Church until He returns.
The focus of this verse is on making disciples; Jesus commanded His apostles to move from their homes (periodic persecutions would enforce this migration) with the intention of explaining the gospel to people who previously did not know about Him. Those new disciples would not simply be followers, but active learners – spiritual apprentices. They should be sought out from every people-group despite their different customs, religious habits and languages. It was not an option for the apostles; it was a command to bring a wide diversity of people into His kingdom.
Baptism was to be the external mark of these new disciples. Their apprenticeship with Jesus needed an obvious beginning to their change of lifestyle. Water baptism is the sign of a new start in a new life having repudiated the self-seeking path of sin, claiming forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. Those people who know what it is to be overwhelmed by the love of God and set free by His forgiveness should affirm their new birth in baptism in the one name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
'Making disciples' of Jesus Christ is an intentional activity. The Holy Spirit uses existing disciples to teach and challenge people to live in obedience to God's Word, to His glory. It is not a task we can do alone, and it is not a task we can shun – it is a normal part of Christian obedience to tell other people how they can be saved. That is how God has designed the Church to grow. It will not always make you popular: sometimes it will lead to rejection, as Jesus was rejected too. But some people will be saved and they will praise God for you. Don't be afraid: tell your friends and colleagues about Jesus, and see what He will do.

Dear Father God. Thank You for giving me the responsibility to announce Christ's salvation to the bit of the world where I live and move to. I am sorry for the times I have been afraid of being rejected and so have disobeyed Your commission. Please help me to tell the gospel, knowing that it is God's method of bringing people to salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams