The Great Commission is impossible…if we do it alone
How are you obeying the Great Commission, Jesus’ call to make disciples of every tribe, tongue, and nation? According to the Joshua Project, there are more than 7,000 people groups still considered unreached with the gospel.
When we see statistics like that, it can make us feel as if our Lord has given us an impossible task…and it absolutely would be if he had sent us off to do it on our own!
Thankfully, that’s not the case. Though we all struggle to obey it and some do better than others, we can be encouraged to know that it’s absolutely impossible for the Great Commission to fail.
Jesus will have worshippers from all parts of the world. There are at least 3 reasons why:
1. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have the Holy Spirit
We don’t even need to leave Matthew’s account of the Great Commission in Mt 28:18-20 to see that we aren’t left to ourselves. After giving his disciples this overwhelming job, Jesus doesn’t leave them scratching their heads trying to figure out how in the world they were going to do it. He immediately reassures them that he would always be with them (v20).
Wait a minute, that says Jesus is with us, not the Holy Spirit!
Without getting into the finer points of the Trinity, the New Testament makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ very own Spirit while also being distinct from him (Acts 16:6-7).
Jesus is with us right now because his Spirit is with us, helping us fulfill our mission. This is actually better for us than having Jesus physically here (Jn 16:7-8)!
We have the same power as Jesus
In John 20:21-22 (a parallel Great Commission passage), Jesus connects the sending out of the disciples with having the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but he specifically says that he is sending them “as the Father has sent me” (v21).
When did Jesus’ official ministry begin? Right after he was baptized and received the Holy Spirit from the Father. It was the Spirit who empowered him for his mission. Jesus follows this pattern by giving the Spirit to us.
The Holy Spirit who helped Jesus overcome Satan’s temptations, walk on water, and rise from the dead is the same Spirit that has been given to empower us to fulfill our Lord’s mission!
In fact, Jesus explicitly told the disciples not to begin the mission until they received the Spirit (Acts 1:4-8). Now that all believers have the Spirit (Rom 8:9), we are all called and enabled to fulfill the task. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have the Holy Spirit.
2. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have the church
God, in His amazing grace and wisdom, has not only saved us from our sins but to his Kingdom. As believers, we are part of a new people called the church. We aren’t a bunch of individual Christians trying to do our own thing for Jesus; we are a unified body with one unified mission.
Sadly, the church is often much less unified than God would like. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change the fact that there are millions of believers alive today with the same empowering Spirit of our Lord.
Jesus has gifted his bride with everything she needs to take the good news to the whole world. Some are called to go overseas while some are called to make disciples at home and financial support those who go. Some are gifted with evangelism while others serve faithfully behind the scenes. There are many ways for the church body to support its members.
The church is the one institution through which God has promised to advance His Kingdom. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have the church.
3. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have a Sovereign Lord
How does Jesus begin his commission in Matthew 28:18? By claiming to have ALL authority on heaven and on earth.
The Great Commission is an incredibly hard thing to fulfill. How do we know that should obey and that we’ll have success? Because the command comes from the one God who is sovereignly ruling the universe. Is any other reason necessary? Obviously not, but I’ll give one anyway.
We know the future
Not only has our all-powerful King given us a direct order, but he has graciously shown us the outcome. What did John see in heaven in Revelation 7:9? “A vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number” that was worshiping Jesus.
We know what happens at the end of the story. Jesus wins, he has worshippers from all over the world, and he uses his church to make it happen. The Great Commission can’t fail because we have a Sovereign Lord.
Making disciples of all nations seems overwhelmingly impossible, but Jesus wants you and me to be encouraged. We are never left to do it alone.
He is constantly with us, has made us part of his church, and has all authority on heaven and on earth to make it happen. These 3 things assure us of victory in our job to make disciples of all nations.