1. To experience the power of God (Matt. 28:18). “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” proclaims the Lord. He invests that authority and might in the work of redemption. Our participation in the Great Commission brings us under that Heavenly Authority. No better place to be.
2. For the glory of God in Christ (Matt. 28:18). The Lord’s words in verse 18 harken back to that wonderful vision of Daniel 7:13-14. The transfer of “authority, glory and sovereign power” that Daniel foresaw is completed in our Lord’s post-Resurrection commission to His Church. The bringing of nations to worship Christ spreads the glory of God in His Son.
3. To express obedience and love (Matt. 28:19). The commands us to “go and make disciples.” We’re not only to “teach them to obey everything I commanded,” but we’re also to express such obedience ourselves. Participating in the Great Commission is in a sense the simultaneous way we both obey and teach others to obey. The Lord knows our love for Him by our obedience to Him (John 14:15, 21, 23).
4. For eternal significance (Matt. 28:19). Is there a purpose in life loftier than working to bring every nation under the sovereign rule and worship of Jesus Christ? Can we give our lives to any greater purpose? Is there a human pursuit that will echo louder in the halls of heaven than the conversion of sinners and salvation of the lost?
5. For the joy of all peoples (Matt. 28:19). Those nations brought to the Savior, confessing their faith in baptism, will simultaneously be brought to the Pearl of Great Price. They will be like that man who found treasure hidden in a field and “in his joy” sold everything to purchase it (Matt. 13:44). Those who give themselves to the Great Commission work for the joy of the nations (2 Cor. 1:24).
6. For abiding presence and fellowship of Jesus (Matt. 28:20). “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The Lord promises His presence with His Church. That presence is felt most when we’re on mission for and with Him.
7. Because God cares (Matt. 28:18-20). Men and women tend to think their last words are their most important words. Perhaps we should apply that thinking to the Master’s last words in Matthew. He leaves us His enduring charge, a charge resting on His power, blessed with His presence and purchased with His blood. It seems anti-climactic to say “God cares about the nations” or “God cares about the Great Commission.” But He does. And because the Lord cares, we should care, too.
How are you or how will you express your care for the glory of God and the joy of the nations in the Great Commission?