Updated: Jan 3
The Great Commission simply means that the followers of Jesus should go out to all people groups and teach them to be followers of Jesus. The main point of the Great Commission in Luke and the rest of the gospels is to spread the good news that Jesus has come to redeem us from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2) and teach people how to be strong followers of Christ. I gathered the scripture on the great commission from each of the gospels and some other relevant scripture to help you fully understand what it is and who is supposed to follow it.
Read the different verses on the great commission in each of the gospels and then scroll down to see our interpretation.
The Great Commission in Matthew
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”.
The Great Commission in Mark
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Great Commission in Luke
46 and He said to them, “So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
The Great Commission in John
20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Importance of the Great Commission
The Great Commission in Luke and the rest of the gospels have great importance because it originates the concept of public preaching and cross-cultural missions work in Christianity. The Lord has given clear and final instructions to His followers to reach all nations (people groups), make disciples, baptize them, and give them His teachings and commandments. He didn’t just say to tell them, but to actually make them disciples or followers of Jesus (in Matthew and Mark).
Jesus didn’t stop there, He told them to baptize the disciples as well. Baptism is a serious event where you acknowledge and confess your faith in Jesus as your only Lord and Savior. It symbolizes that you were a sinner and the washing of the water is the blood that washes those sins away, only through the grace and mercy of Jesus.
Jesus also said to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He wanted people to differentiate that it is only by the blood of the Son, power of the Holy Spirit, and Authority of the Father that they can be born again as a Christian. I believe He mentioned this because the Father gave Jesus authority in that no one can go to heaven or go to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
There are many people that call themselves Christians, but are not baptized. The step into baptism is an inward and outward choice to become a true believer and follower of Christ. I believe Jesus added the part to be baptized because He want’s true followers and not people who are on the fence about it, AKA luke-warm.
Revelation 3:15-16 mentions God’s distaste for luke-warm believers, which says “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
What else does the Great Commission mean?
Jesus said to teach the new disciples everything Jesus commanded them. This means that we need to look back and see everything Jesus commanded the disciples in the Bible. This means that all the new disciples must follow all the commands of Jesus.
One of them found in the great commission in Mark is to cast out demons. This may be a stretch for some people, but since Jesus said it, He has given us authority to do it. We won’t get into all the commands here, but anything that Jesus said to His disciples in the Bible also applies to the new disciples for the great commission. Unless He was speaking to a specific person for a specific situation.
Is the Great Commission Specific to Certain People?
The great commission in Matthew 28 says the disciples are supposed to teach all that Jesus commanded them. In other words, the original disciples are supposed to teach the new disciples what Jesus taught and make sure they follow it. Then the new disciples are supposed to teach the disciples they make, etc.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 that “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
To answer the question if the great commission is only for certain people, the answer is no. Jesus wants us to share the light that is within us. That is the great commission. Does everyone have to do all parts of the great commission, like baptize, cast demons out, and travel to all nations? The answer to that is you surely can and should do, but don’t necessarily have to. We are the body of Christ, not all people will do the same thing, but in unity we will accomplish it together (Ephesians 4:16). Some people will be supporting ligaments to those that will travel to persecuted regions to preach the gospel and make disciples.
The Great Commission is the task of spreading the good news of Jesus and making strong disciples or followers of Christ. Everyone can do it and should do at least part of it. If they aren’t, they should at least be supporting the people that do.
Jesus gave each of us the free gift of salvation and the task of multiplying this salvation. We can look at the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 to see the idea of multiplying what we have been given. In this parable, the master gives everyone talents and then leaves them for a time. When He comes back, He checks on each servant to see if they have multiplied the talents. He rewards those that multiply their talents and punishes those that don’t.
This parable may or may not mean what I just described, but based on this and many other parables and words Jesus spoke, He wants us to be fruitful workers for His kingdom. If you want to be fruitful, abide in Him and you will produce.
Other Verses on the Great Commission
Acts 1:8 “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’”
Romans 10:14–15 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Ephesians 4:16 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Matthew 4:19-20 “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”
Matthew 24:14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.