Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
— Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
That last hug. That last kiss. That last look. That last wave. Each of them is very important when you are leaving someone you love, especially if it could be the last time you see them for a while. But the last word, that one last message, is precious. You try to make it pleasant ... you try to make it memorable ... you try to make it affectionate ... but most of all, you want your one last word to count!
The Great Commission is Jesus' last earthly message to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew. While Jesus still leads and guides, this is the message he wants his disciples to remember as his parting command. This is his final message. He stresses emphatically that it is based on his authority over everyone and everything and everywhere. What is that message? GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES!
Notice Jesus doesn't just want us going everywhere telling about him. Notice he doesn't just want us baptizing everyone we see. Notice he doesn't just want us to teach others to follow him. He wants us to do all three! He says go, baptize, and teach to obey so they too will be his disciples! When we heed these marching orders, when we get out of the shadow of our church buildings and culture, he will go with us! That's it. That's Jesus' one last word. It's also our first word!
Almighty God, I know you sent Jesus so the world could be saved. I know that means more than them just hearing about Jesus. I know you want people to be true followers, to be disciples. So forgive us, Father, for the times we have procrastinated because we worried the job was too big, too hard, too expensive, or too demanding personally. We will try, I will try, to be more excited and generous with sharing the Good News with others in this coming year. I know as I do, Jesus will go with me. So may this next year be to your glory and to Jesus' honor and praise! In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.