“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).
So just what is that unfolding story in which we are to play our parts? Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24 lays out a simple premise: once the “gospel of the kingdom” has been satisfactorily taken throughout the world, the end will come. Jesus’ promise that the end would come was not a bad thing. He was referring to his grand promise to reconcile all things, to right every wrong, to restore his creation, and to establish his wonderful kingdom forever and ever. He was promising to tie up all the loose ends of the big story and bring it to its amazing conclusion.
But before all of this happens, Jesus called his followers to complete a crucial assignment he gave to them just before he left: the Great Commission. At its essence it was not a call to simply believe the right things; instead, it was a call to action to join God in his intent to form a new kind of kingdom that would become a blessing to all nations—one based not on land, politics, power, and dominion but on God’s truth, love, forgiveness, and compassion—a kingdom within kingdoms. It was a call to go into the world to reclaim, reform, and restore it for Christ. It was a call to launch a revolution that involved nothing short of the overthrow of the prevailing world system. And before Jesus left, he commissioned his church to lead this revolution, promising that the very gates of hell would not prevail against it.
It is not an overstatement to say that the sole reason the church exists at all is to carry out the Great Commission; for once it is completed, the church will be dissolved into God’s eternal kingdom. Once the revolution is won, the revolutionaries are no longer needed. These were the marching orders that Jesus gave to his disciples. It was the single goal he gave them to accomplish. He told them he would return when the job was finished; and then Jesus left.
Does the Great Commission sound like something you would, could, or already do?
Lord, thank you for promising to restore this broken world. Thank you for giving me hope for the future. Please help me know how to carry out my assignment in the meantime.