Thoughts on the Great Commission

Living out the Great Commission requires us to be intentional in our relationships with others. Matthew 28 tells us to go to all nations and present them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Being a Great Commission church is about relationships with others. It’s about reaching out to people different than us. The Greek word used for “go” literally means “in your going” or “as your going.” When we read the word “go” we think of an action that has yet to take place. But in essence, Jesus was talking about what the disciples were already doing. We don’t have to go anywhere to fulfill the Great Commission, we are already doing it. How well we’re doing it is the question. We are already teaching people about Jesus, but the question is, “what are we teaching them?”

The Greek word for nations is “ethnos” which is where we get the word “ethnicity” from. But the core definition to the Greek word “ethnos” is people who are different than us. In fact the plural form of “ethos” is translated as Gentiles. So essentially when Jesus says, “go to all nations,” he tells us to seek people not like us. To find people who are different than us, we don’t have to go to another country. There are people different than us everywhere we go. Jesus is a great example of someone who reached out to people who were different than him. In Luke 15:1-2, Jesus was with people who were completely different than him and the others did not want to see that. “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Our command to reach people does not originate from Matthew 28, in fact we see God’s heart for people back in Genesis 12:1-3. God commands Abraham to reach the nations. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’” Jesus was often criticized for spending time with the wrong people. People even criticized him for talking to the wrong people. But Jesus indicated that in order to fulfill the Great Commission, he needed to cross boundaries and reach out to people who were different than him.

So we ask ourselves, what does our “ethos” look like in our life?
Are the people in our life different than us?

Our natural human condition is to gravitate to people who are just like us. We sit next to people just like us. We befriend people just like us. We talk to people just like us. Being around people just like us is the easy thing to do. The difficult part of life and our mission in life is to be around people who are not like us. People who don’t hold the same views we do are the ones we need to be around. For many of us, it’s hard to come to grasp with this. But if we look at Jesus’ life and the heart of the Great Commission, it’s all about forming relationships with all people.

So what does this look like in our everyday lives?

It means talking to that neighbor who lives a lifestyle that you disagree with. It means being intentional with people, making an effort to seek people who not only are different than us, but who do not know Jesus. My job as a Christian is to lead people into living Great Commission lives. My job as a Christian is to embrace the heart of the Great Commission and show others the love of Christ.


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