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Great Commission, the

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

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Mandate to "make disciples of all nations" given by Christ to his disciples following his death and resurrection (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8 ). Because Christ has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:19 ), the Great Commission is to be taken with the utmost seriousness by all of his disciples, "to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 ).

The impetus for the Great Commission springs from the heart of God. He loved us and gave his Son or us (John 3:16 ). The disciples are sent out to accomplish what God had started in the sending of his Son (John 20:21 ). The Great Commission is thus linked to God's words to Abraham: that "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3 ).

The Great Commission is accomplished through witnessing (Acts 1:8 ), preaching (Mark 16:15 ), baptizing, and teaching (Matthew 28:20 ). Jesus' disciples are to replicate themselves in the lives of those who respond to the Good News. The Holy Spirit is the empowering agent for those who witness (Acts 1:8 ), as well as the one who convicts sinners of their need for Jesus (John 16:8-11 ). The disciples will have success because Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, will be with them as they undertake their assignment (Matthew 28:20 ).

The Great Commission necessitates taking the gospel message to "the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8 ), to "all nations" (Matthew 28:19 ). The Good News is to be shared with all peoples, for all are sinners, Jews and Gentile alike, and in need of deliverance from sin (Romans 3 ). All peoples, by faith, can receive God's provision and are baptized into Christ. In Christ, all distinctions between Jew and Gentile disappear (Romans 10:12-13; Galatians 3:28 ).

Glenn E. Schaefer

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. Entry for 'Great Commission, the'. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​bed/​g/great-commission-the.html. 1996.
 
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