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“Go…”. The Great Commission. - A radical call - Always opposition - ‘Go-to-them ’ rather than ‘come-to-us ’.

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The Great Commission


- A radical call

  • - Always opposition
  • - ‘Go-to-them’ rather than ‘come-to-us’

There’s a growing idea in many churches that you can only preach if you are ‘authorized’ to do so by some committee or group of elders. The personal relevance and reference of the great commission means we can rightly ignore this. In fact, such an attitude is really a preservation of Roman Catholicism. In 1184 at the Council of Verona, Pope Lucius III declared that the list of heretics should be extended to include those who “preach without permission”.


Jesus sent out the 70 preachers to every place where He Himself was to come; they went showing His "face" to the people, and showing them that the Kingdom of God had come near to them (Lk. 10:1,9). Perhaps this principle is to be seen in the great commission; Luke's version of which builds on the more limited commission to the 70.

latter day preaching in all the world
Latter Day Preaching “In all the world”
  • Mt. 24:14: " This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come“ “Shall” be preached is matched by Mark with “must be preached”

Dan. 12:4 speaks of a time in the very last days when “many shall run to and fro (an idiom often used concerning response to God's word: Ps. 119:32,60; 147:15; Amos 8:11,12; Hab. 2:2; Jn. 8:37 RV; 2 Thess. 3:1 Gk.), and knowledge shall be increased...many shall be purified, and made white (in baptism), and tried (in the tribulation)”.


Matthew 28:20 = Daniel 12:13 LXX

  • Go ye into all the world (Mt. 28:20) = Go thou thy way
  • “…then shall the end come” (when the Gospel has been preached to all the world) = till the end
  • I am with you all the days (28:20 Gk.) = for still there will be days
  • unto the end of the world = .

Dan. 11:32,33 speaks of how in the time of the end " The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits...instruct many" .


The parable of the marriage feast  - an ever-increasingly vigorous preaching campaign by the " servants" , seeing that " they which were bidden were not worthy" (Matt. 22:8) - the Greek implying not enough numerically. As a result of this preaching, " the wedding was furnished ('filled' - numerically) with guests" (Matt. 22:10).

  • Appeal to " the poor...maimed...halt and...blind" . The servants are sent " into the highways" (Matt. 22:9), the Greek meaning 'a market square'. This must be designed to recall the parable of the labourers standing idle in the market place at the 11th. hour (Matt. 20:6,7). The very short probation of those 11th.-hour workers will match that of the latter-day converts. And again, it was the old and weak who nobody wanted to hire.

The parable of the great supper- the servants go forth " at supper time" (Luke 14:17) . This fits more naturally into the context of a preaching appeal just prior to the second coming than to the first century. The " supper" , i.e. the Kingdom (Luke 14:15; Matt. 22:2), is prepared, and at " supper time" - 'Kingdom time' - the appeal is made. " All things are now ready" (Luke 14:17) explains the unmistakeable sense of urgency in the commissions given to the servants to preach. The 'decorum of the symbol' suggests that the animals being killed for the meal would necessitate a brief period of invitation immediately prior to the feast, rather than them being on the table for 2,000 years.


Before every 'coming' of the Lord there has been a period of persecution and zealous preaching: Noah preached righteousness before the flood, as Lot probably tried to before the Lord's coming down in judgment on Sodom (would God have wrought such wholesale destruction without giving the people a chance to repent? Cp. Nineveh and Jonah). The schools of the prophets preached from the street corners and temple steps to warn of the coming of the day of the Lord at the hand of the Babylonians and Assyrians. And of course the dramatic coming of the Lord in judgment upon Israel in AD70, was heralded by Paul and his committed band of zealots staging the greatest preaching campaigns this world has seen.


The dragon/ beast made war with the seed of the woman " which keep the commandments (word) of God, and have the testimony (i.e. preaching) of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17); it was because of " the word of their testimony (i.e. preaching) (that) they loved not their lives unto the death" (12:11), and then  Rev. 12 goes on to describe how this final witness amidst tribulation is resolved by the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom.


Joel 2:32 seems to prophesy of multitudes calling upon the name of the Lord in the ‘last days’. The preliminary fulfillment of this in Acts 2:21 must surely be repeated in the ultimate ‘last days’. And it may be that it is multitudes of Diaspora Jews who respond, as it was in Acts 2…

all men
“All men”
  • 12% of the world have English as a first or second language
  • Rev. 5:9 presents us with the picture of men and women redeemed from every kindred [tribe / clan], tongue [glossa- language], people [a group of people not necessarily of the same ethnicity] and nation [ethnos- ethnic group, lit. ‘those of the same customs’].

70 bullocks had to be sacrificed at the feast of ingathering (Num. 29), prophetic as it was of the final ingathering of the redeemed. But 70 is the number of all Gentile nations found in Gen. 10. And it is written: “When he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Dt. 32:8). A total of 70 went down with Jacob into Egypt; and thus 70 seems an appropriate number to connect with the entire Gentile world. My point is, representatives of all of them will be finally ingathered. It could be that this conversion of all men occurs during the final tribulation (Rev. 14:6)


1 Inability to maintain a satisfactory devotional life when separated from other sympathetic believers. 8.0%

  • 2 Inability or unwillingness to submit graciously to the discipline or directives of supervisors or senior missionaries.16.5%
  • 3 Inability or unwillingness to work in harmony with fellow missionaries.17.0%
  • 4 Inability to supress a feeling of superiority to natives or native workers, or inability to express an attitude of complete sympathy for same.13.0%
  • 5 Friction or lack of harmonious co-operation between husband and wife to the extent that the effectiveness of the work was impaired.8.5%
  • 6 Inability to adjust to new life or “cut” homeland ties.4.0%
  • 7 Health failures, psychosomatic or psychoneurotic.2.0%
  • 8 Incapacity or unwillingness to formulate and carry out a definite or satisfactory daily detail of operation.11.0%
  • 9 Carelessness or evasiveness in the preparation of financial or operational reports.4.5%
  • 10 Inability to maintain a satisfactory standard of personal or household tidiness to the extent that there was a reflection on the work of the mission and
  • 11 Sex problems.7.0%
  • 12 Inadequate scholastic work or inability to utilize knowledge in a practical manner, such as inability to master a foreign language. 2%
  • Gordon Fraser, ‘A Survey Of First Term Missionary Casualties’, Biblioteca Sacra Vol. 115  No. 457—Jan. 1958, p.47.
the great commission in matthew
The Great Commission in Matthew
  • " Go ye therefore  " . " Therefore  " . Because of what? Mt. 28:18 provides the answer: " All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore  " . Because of this, we must spread the Gospel of Christ to the whole planet, because His authority is over the whole earth. He has that power just as much now as He did in the first century; and therefore  the command to spread the Gospel world-wide still stands today. Indeed, His words here in Mt. 28 have evident reference to Dan. 7:14, where the Son of Man is given authority and power over all so that people of all nations, races and languages should serve Him.

“Go ye into all the world” evidently connects with the Lord’s command in the parable: “Go ye” into the highways and “gather together all”, as many as were found. And this in turn is an extension of an earlier parable, where the net of the Gospel is presented as gathering “every kind”- every genos, every “kindred / nation / stock / generation”, as the word is elsewhere translated (Mt. 28:19; 22:9,10; 13:47).


The command to ‘make disciples’ of all men in Matthew is framed in such a way as to make ‘...baptising them...’ a subordinate clause. Baptism is only part of the work of making disciples. In Mt. 28:19-20 mathateusate("make disciples") is the main verb, while poreuthentes("while going" or "when [you] go"), baptizontes("baptizing"), and didaskontes("teaching") are subsidiary participles. The focus clearly is upon making disciples- all the other things, the teaching, baptizing, our effort in travelling and preaching, are incidental to this main aim.

  • - Preach-baptize-teach
the great commission in luke
The Great Commission in Luke
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached [proclaimed, s.w. 4:19] in his name among all nations” (Lk. 24:47)
  • Lk. 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,   and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach [proclaim] the acceptable year of the Lord”. This combines allusions to Is. 61:1   (Lev. 25:10); Is. 58:6 LXX  and  Is. 61:2.

Is. 58:6 AV: “To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free (cp. Dt. 15:12 re freedom of slaves, s.w.), and that ye break every yoke?” is in the context of an insincerely kept year of Jubilee in Hezekiah’s time, after the Sennacherib invasion. Is. 58 has many Day of Atonement allusions- the year of Jubilee began on this feast. We are as the High Priest declaring the reality of forgiveness to the crowd.

  • Hence Lk. 24:47 asks us to proclaim a Jubilee of atonement. The Greek for “preach” in Lk. 24:47 and for “preach / proclaim the acceptable year” in Lk. 4:19 are the same, and the word is used in the LXX for proclaiming the Jubilee.
  • “The creditor shall release that which he hath lent…because the Lord’s release hath been proclaimed” (Dt. 15:2RV).
  • we are in a permanent Jubilee year situation when He said that we should “take no thought what ye shall eat …Sow not nor gather into barns” and not think “What shall we eat?” (Mt. 6:26,31 = Lev. 25:20).

To preach [proclaim] the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:19) is thus parallel with “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev. 25:10)

john the synoptics
John & The Synoptics
  • The more literal accounts of the birth of Jesus = Jn. 1: 1-14
  • Lk. 16:31 = "If you believe not (Moses') writings, how shall you believe my words?" (Jn. 5:47).
  • The transfiguration = Christ glorified
  • The need for water baptism = Jn. 3:3-5
  • The account of the breaking of bread = Jn. 6:48-58
  • The many quotations from the Old Testament, shown to be fulfilled in the Lord Jesus = Jn. 1:14
the great commission in john
The Great Commission in John
  • “I have chosen you...that ye should go [cp. “Go ye into all the world...”] and bring forth fruit” (Jn. 15:8,16).
  • The whole world is to know the Gospel because of the unity of the believers (Jn. 17:18,21,23)
  • “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you...If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (Jn. 20:21,23 NIV).