HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
What is the Ascension and The Great Commission? Jesus Ascends and Gives the Great Commission
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mathew 28:16-20)
The above passage in Matthew 28 is referred to as The Great Commission. They are the words of Jesus spoken just prior to his ascension following the 40 days he lived on earth as the resurrected Christ. It is called The Great Commission because it is a command that the disciples go into the world and spread the Gospel. In fact, Matthew 18:16-20 is often used when teaching or preaching on the subject of service, missions and evangelism.
In Matthew 28, Jesus doesn’t give his disciples a choice about going and preaching the gospel. He leaves no room for praying in the decision-making process. And while many people use the excuse that they are not called to be an evangelist, The Great Commission is for all believers. And when Jesus said “Go” he wasn’t referring to the future. He expected an immediate response, which is what happened to the disciples once they received the power of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. You will notice here that He didn’t say go to a seminary or some school of theology, but to go into all the world and preach. That is THE GREAT COMMISSION.
Before Jesus commands his disciples to preach to the nations, he assures them that he has authority, which means that they have been given authority through him. With such authority, Jesus gives five specific commands to fulfil the Great Commission.
- In Matthew 18, he says “Go.”
- In Mark 16:15, Jesus says to “Preach.”
- Christians learn that “Repentance” is part of The Great Commission, as described in Luke 14:47.
- John 10 uses the verb “Send”.
- Finally, in Acts 1:8, the Bible says that Christians are to be “Witnesses.”
The concept of going, preaching, repenting, sending and witnessing sounds overwhelming to many. However, in addition to having the authority, Jesus made an important promise to believers before he ascended to heaven: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Notice here He didn’t say to speak in tongues and leave the people ignorant. His words and message were very distinct and direct, Go and preach after you receive the power of the Holy Spirit. That was the Authority form the Son of God, our brother and Saviour.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit who would empower every Christian to accomplish the work of an evangelist. The purpose in commissioning and empowering disciples is so the lost will be saved when they hear the Good News of the Gospel.
Where are you standing today and are you in obedience to the Great Commission that Jesus left us when He spoke to the disciples.