Great Commission

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The Great Commission, stained glass window, Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick in El Paso, Texas
Events in the
Life of Jesus
according to the Gospels
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In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:1620, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to make disciples of and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Disciple (Christianity) followers of Jesus, Christian perspective

In Christianity, disciple primarily refers to a dedicated follower of Jesus. This term is found in the New Testament only in the Gospels and Acts. In the ancient world a disciple is a follower or adherent of a teacher. It is not the same as being a student in the modern sense. A disciple in the ancient biblical world actively imitated both the life and teaching of the master. It was a deliberate apprenticeship which made the fully formed disciple a living copy of the master.

In Christianity, the gospel, or the Good News, is the news of the coming of the Kingdom of God. The message of good news is described as a narrative in the four canonical gospels.

Contents

The Great Commission is similar to the episodes of the commissioning of the Twelve Apostles found in the other Synoptic Gospels, though with significant differences. Luke also has Jesus dispatching disciples during his ministry, sending them to all the nations and giving them power over demons, including the Seventy disciples. The dispersion of the Apostles in the traditional ending of Mark is thought to be a 2nd-century summary based on Matthew and Luke.

Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles An episode in the ministry of Jesus that appears in all three Synoptic Gospels

The commissioning of the Twelve Apostles is an episode in the ministry of Jesus that appears in all three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 10:1–4, Mark 3:13–19 and Luke 6:12–16. It relates the initial selection of the Twelve Apostles among the disciples of Jesus.

Synoptic Gospels A way to describe the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke collectively

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in similar or sometimes identical wording. They stand in contrast to John, whose content is largely distinct. The term synoptic comes via Latin from the Greek σύνοψις, synopsis, i.e. "(a) seeing all together, synopsis"; the sense of the word in English, the one specifically applied to these three gospels, of "giving an account of the events from the same point of view or under the same general aspect" is a modern one.

Seventy disciples early students of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke

The seventy disciples or seventy-two disciples were early emissaries of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text.

It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing ministry, missionary work, evangelism, and baptism. The apostles are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and founded the apostolic sees. Preterists believe that the Great Commission and other Bible prophecies were fulfilled in the 1st century while futurists believe Bible prophecy is yet to be fulfilled at the Second Coming.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

In Christianity, ministry is an activity carried out by Christians to express or spread their faith, the prototype being the Great Commission. The Encyclopedia of Christianity defines it as "carrying forth Christ's mission in the world", indicating that it is "conferred on each Christian in baptism." It is performed by all Christians. This is distinguished from the "office of minister", to which specific individuals who feel a certain vocation. It can signify this activity as a whole, or specific activities, or organizations within a church dedicated to specific activities. Some ministries are identified formally as such, and some are not; some ministry is directed towards members of the church, and some towards non-members. See also Apostolates.

A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity to new converts. Missions involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work. Sometimes individuals are sent and are called missionaries. When groups are sent, they are often called mission teams and they do mission trips. There are a few different kinds of mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and ones meant simply for helping people in need. Some might choose to dedicate their whole lives to missions as well. Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith, and provide humanitarian aid. Christian doctrines permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.

Some researchers of the historical Jesus see the Great Commission as reflecting not Jesus' words but rather the Christian community in which each gospel was written. (See Sayings of Jesus.) Some scholars, such as John Dominic Crossan, assert that Jesus did commission the apostles during his lifetime, as reported in the Gospels. Others,[ who? ] however, see even these lesser commissions as representing Christian invention rather than history.

Historical Jesus is the reconstruction of the life and teachings of Jesus by critical historical methods, in contrast to Christological definitions and other Christian accounts of Jesus. It also considers the historical and cultural contexts in which Jesus lived.

John Dominic Crossan American academic

John Dominic Crossan is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, and former Catholic priest who was a prominent member of The Jesus Seminar. His research has focused on the historical Jesus, on the cultural anthropology of the Ancient Mediterranean and New Testament worlds and on the application of postmodern hermeneutical approaches to the Bible. His work is controversial, portraying the Second Coming as a late corruption of Jesus' message and saying that Jesus' divinity is metaphorical. In place of the eschatological message of the Gospels, Crossan emphasizes the historical context of Jesus and of his followers immediately after his death. He describes Jesus' ministry as founded on free healing and communal meals, negating the social hierarchies of Jewish culture and the Roman Empire.

History

It is not known who coined the term Great Commission, which was popularized by Hudson Taylor. [1]

Hudson Taylor

James Hudson Taylor was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.

New Testament accounts

The most familiar version of the Great Commission is depicted in Matthew 28:16–20 ,

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

According to Matthew 10, Jesus commanded His disciples to proclaim the arrival of the kingdom of God and to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons..." Mark 6 and Luke 9 also record this instruction. The Great Commission is the commandment to proclaim good news - the kingdom has come and it has come with demonstration of power. Later, Paul prophesied that one of the signs of the last days would be that mention of the power of God would be silenced. He warned Timothy to not associate with those who have a form of godliness but do not speak of the power (2 Timothy 3:5). To the Corinthians, he said he did not come with eloquence or wisdom but with "demonstration of the power of the Spirit so that faith would rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4)

Other versions of the Great Commission are found in Mark 16:14–18, Luke 24:44–49, Acts 1:4–8, and John 20:1923. In Luke, Jesus tells the disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness, and promises that they will have divine power. In John, Jesus says the disciples will have the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins and to withhold forgiveness. [2] In Acts, Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will inspire them. All these passages are composed as words of Christ spoken after his resurrection.

The call to go into the world in Matthew 28 is prefaced a mere four chapters earlier when Jesus states that the Gospel message will be heard by representatives of all nations, at which time the end will come.

Interpretations

The commission from Jesus has been interpreted by evangelical Christians as meaning that his followers have the duty to go, make disciples, teach, and baptize. Although the command was initially given directly only to Christ's eleven Apostles, evangelical Christian theology has typically interpreted the commission as a directive to all Christians of every time and place, particularly because it seems to be a restatement or moving forward of the last part of God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:3.[ citation needed ] Some Christians, like members of the Bruderhof Communities, see their life of church community as taught in Acts 2 and 4, as their part of proclaiming the gospel to all men. [3] [4]

Commentators often contrast the Great Commission with the earlier Limited Commission of Matthew 10:5–42, in which they were to restrict their mission to their fellow Jews, who Jesus referred to as "the lost sheep of the house of Israel". ( Matthew 15:24 )

Preterists believe that the Great Commission was already fulfilled based on the New Testament passages "And they went out and preached everywhere" (Mark 16:20), "the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven" (Colossians 1:23), and "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations" (Romans 16:25–26).

The Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah states:

R.  Emden (יעב"ץ), in a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his appendix to "Seder 'Olam" (pp. 32b–34b, Hamburg, 1752), gives it as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law — which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath.

See also

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References

  1. Castleman, Robbie F. "The Last Word: The Great Commission: Ecclesiology" (PDF). Themelios. 32 (3): 68.
  2. John 20:2123
  3. Wollaston, Sam (2019-07-23). "'Just don't call it a cult': the strangely alluring world of the Bruderhof". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  4. "Bruderhof - Fellowship for Intentional Community". Fellowship for Intentional Community. Retrieved 2018-01-17.