As a missionary kid, I naturally learned the Great Commission at an early age. I knew Jesus told us to go into all the world to preach the gospel. But I don’t think I really understood the reason for it until recently. I’ve read biographies of missionaries and I’ve read novels set in the 19th century whose characters went to church and were exposed to missionaries. They used to talk about the millions of unsaved pagans who needed to hear about Christ.
Yes, missionaries need to love the people to whom they are sent. They should be concerned about the souls who are lost. But I think my grandfather was closer to God’s reason when he wrote to his parents about his decision to become a missionary. He said he believed he could do more good for the Kingdom of God in China than as a pastor of a small church in America.
The key to the Great Commission is the word “therefore.” Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations." Jesus’ authority makes Him sovereign. He is God – the ruler of everyone and everything in the world.
Because Jesus is sovereign, we should make disciples of all the nations.
Because Jesus is sovereign, we should baptize them in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus is sovereign, we should teach them to obey all the commands Jesus has given us.
Missions don’t matter if He’s not sovereign. If He’s not God, then don’t bother making disciples. They might as well follow whatever way seems best to them. We might as well just feed them, heal their illnesses and then walk away. There wouldn't be any good news to share.
The Great Commission is about spreading the word about the Lordship of Jesus Christ.