The Who of the Great Commission

Wherever Jesus' message goes, lives are transformed.

Bill Bright

In one of my first classes in journalism, I learned that the lead paragraph in a good news story usually answers six basic questions: Who? What? Why? Where? When? and How?

In this booklet, I want to share with you a positive and practical strategy which answers these six basic questions.

Who Gave the Great Commission and to Whom Was It Given?

Who but our Lord Jesus Christ could possibly say, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth?” Jesus is the unique Son of God. His miraculous birth, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection are the most important events in human history. God became man. He died on the cross and was raised from the dead to save people from sin and to give eternal life to all who receive Him. The result was a spiritual revolution that changed the first century world and dramatically altered the course of history.

Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest person who ever lived, has caused the most changes for good in the entire history of mankind through changing the lives of hundreds of millions of men and women.

Historian Phillip Schaff said, “Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon. Without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined. Without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as were never spoken before nor since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet. Without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, works of art, learned volumes, and sweet songs of praise than the whole army of great people of ancient and modern time. Born in a manger, crucified as a malefactor, He controls the destinies of the civilized world and rules a spiritual empire that encircles the globe.”

Christ changes men, women and nations. Wherever His message goes, lives are transformed. It was said of our Savior by the great missionary statesman, Dr. Samuel Zwemer, “The gospel not only converts individuals, but changes society. On every mission field from the days of William Carey, the missionaries have carried a real social gospel. They established standards of purity and hygiene, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained antisocial customs, abolished cannibalism, human sacrifice and cruelty, organized famine relief, checked tribal wars and changed the structure of society.”

To the Colossians Paul writes:

Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth...In Him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power.

Your Authority as a Christian

When you represent the Lord Jesus Christ as His disciple, you can be assured you are representing the one Person who possesses all power, wisdom and authority. You have everything when you have Him. Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

No power can resist you as you go in obedience and faith as His ambassador. You have the promise, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Also, you are assured that even the gates of hell will not prevail against you. The more you understand who Christ is and all that He has done and will do for you and through you, the more completely you will want to trust, obey and serve Him.

God Gave the Great Commission to You

To whom did Christ give the Great Commission? Jesus gave the Great Commission not only to His eleven disciples, but to every one who has believed in Him through the centuries. Therefore, every Christian should be vitally and continually involved in helping to fulfill the Great Commission as a way of life through the investment of their lives, their talents and their treasure.

Shortly after Jesus gave the Great Commission, God the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, transformed and empowered the lives of the same disciples who, during His trial and crucifixion, had denied our Lord and for the most part had deserted Him. Following Pentecost, they went out boldly and courageously, willing to risk their lives to proclaim the message of God's love and forgiveness in Christ. In fact, all of the disciples died as martyrs preaching the gospel, except for John who died in exile on the Isle of Patmos after he survived being burned in a vat of oil for his faith.

Somehow we have gotten the idea that the early Christians were different from us – that they possessed a quality of life to which we can not attain. But it is a fact of history that the people to whom Jesus gave His Great Commission were common, ordinary, working people plagued with the same weaknesses that we have. The only difference between most of them and the majority of us is that two outstanding things had happened to them:

First, they had complete confidence in a resurrected Lord triumphant over death, one who lived within them and was coming again to reign on the earth.

Second, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today, if enough Christians were completely committed to our resurrected and returning Lord and were controlled and empowered by His Spirit, we would turn our world upside down and experience a mighty spiritual revolution like that in the first century.

Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Help Fulfill The Great Commission, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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