The Great CommissionMatthew 28 NIV
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I find it fascinating how many scripture verses we truncate. This one we truncate at the beginning and the end. Typically, we tend to say something like, “Go into all the world, make disciples and baptize them into the father, son, and holy spirit.” Seems to be a whole lot more words there than that.
I asked several people what they understood was the command and how in this scripture. The examples I gave were:
- Clean your room, pick up the toys, make your bed, put away your clothes. The command is Clean. The how is picking up, making, and putting away.
- Get ready for school. Brush your teeth and hair, pack your bag, get your lunch. So it would be get ready: brush, pack, get.
Based on feedback, the general consensus is the command is ‘Go’. The how: ‘Teaching/Discipling’ and ‘Baptizing’. Could that be right? So we are commanded to Go and how we go is teaching and baptizing? Sounds a bit awkward.
Because this is a translation from another language, Greek, we should back up to the original to see if it looks that way. Here is the literal translation of the Greek:
This is from a pretty cool site. By clicking on the blocks, it will break things down even more. I encourage you to explore it more simply to understand Greek. It is not necessarily a sight to determine doctrine.
The text ‘You make students’ kind of makes the command a little more clear. The command isn’t to ‘Go’ it is ‘make students.’ If we look at this even closer, the ‘you’ is implied, the word ‘make’ isn’t really there, and the literal word is ‘apprentice’. So it simply says, “You apprentice.” Well that is much clearing, don’t you think? It also gives a feeling of weighted ownership.
So our command is “You apprentice.”
How do we apprentice?
- Traveling. I’ve heard ‘go’ defined in many ways throughout the years. As I personally thought about the word go, it sounded like a decision I would make. The word traveling sounds like something I do on a continued basis. If I think of ‘go’ I feel like there is a destination. When I think traveling, I don’t feel a destination. Maybe if our original had said going, it would paint a different picture for me. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. *shrugs*.
- As we look into this word further this Biblical Dictionary states, “Its tense is aorist (which indicates the mere fact of the action, with deliberate silence about when the action takes place or how long it would last).” So it is a continual, perpetual state. We are always traveling throughout life. So it isn’t about making a decision to go, it is what we are always doing.
- Traveling makes sense, picture someone being apprenticed. The apprentices goes with the master and does what he does. So if we are truly followers of Jesus, we would be ourselves immersed in the father, son, and holy spirit and we would be keeping His commandments as we traveled throughout our daily lives.
- “All the nations.” I included this here because we tend to associate “go” with “into all the nations.” But it really isn’t when we look at the original Greek. It comes after ‘apprentice.” if we look at that word further, we find out it isn’t just one person, it means multitudes of people. In our translations, it is often translated as ‘gentile.’ Another observation is it tends to refer to people associated with one another, living together, of the same nature, race. Not going down this rabbit hole right now, but there is a thought in the back of my mind, if we take away the association with go, and we look at the actually meaning of people living together and that we look at traveling, maybe it means as we travel in our every day lives with those around us? We have turned this particular verse into a call to missions outside our immediate area, but hmmm, going to ponder that one a little more. NOTE: This is not discounting foreign missions, specific disciples were called to foreign missions, but not all. ALL are called to this “Great Commission, not some.” There is a significant difference between ALL being called “into all the world,” and SOME being called.
- Immersing. As I read this, I realized how my mind’s framework has a defined meaning to ‘baptizing,’ but not so much immersing. Initial as I read, ‘immersing them into the name of the …’ I realized a few things.
- First, it doesn’t sound as much like baptizing into water as immersing into YWHW/God, Yeshua/Jesus, and Raukah/Spirit. Do you see what I see? Immediately, Jesus on the cross with the thief made some sense. People who do not have the necessary means to be fully immersed into water made sense. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” made sense. It’s about being fully immersed in our Elohim/god. Nothing else, no one else, no other. NOTE: This is not discounting water baptism. Simply open your mind to a deeper meaning. In fact, water baptism is meant to be an outward sign of this very thing. Not to mention Jesus was baptized in water, so therefore, we should be as well.
- Second, the word ‘name’ not ‘nameS’. Looking into the Greek word further, “its number is single, and its gender is neuter.” The name, it is very similar to Shem in Hebrew. Not three distinct names but one. Three in one.
- Not to go down another rabbit hole, but another thought I had was, father, son, and holy spirit are not names anyway. O.o Neither is god or the Christ. Their name’s are YHWH/I Am and Yahoshua/I Am Saves.
- Teaching. This is one of those we truncate. “Make disciples” period full stop.
- We aren’t just told to teach, we are told what to teach, “to keep all whatsoever I directed you.” The word translated as I directed you, we frequently see translated as command. Matthew uses it in Chapter 17 when he writes about God commanding to honor a mother and father. Also in Chapter 5 as part of a warning in regard to teaching someone to break any of the commandments taught in the law, referring to the Old Testament law. That alone is food for thought.
- In looking at the word even further, it is interesting to note the meaning, “to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them.” Yet again, I find I have inserted my own preconceived ideas. Nothing here says anything about the apprentice’s spiritual maturity. It doesn’t say someone who isn’t a believer or a new believer in the Christ. It makes me view the word apprentice differently as well. ‘You apprentice,’ can have dual meanings. Hmmm, so I went to look it up again and guess what, yep, it surely does. “To be a disciple of one to follow his precepts and instructions; to make a disciple to teach, instruct.” Ponder that one for a few.
- It also is a commission given to ALL who choose to believe, not just to some. The word used in Ephesians 4 is derived from this word, but has a little different meaning. So “some” are not called to do this and some not, ALL are called. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t.
Simply put we are commissioned to: Apprentice by traveling, immersing into the Name, and teaching the commandments.
As I mentioned, this is a scripture we have memorized in a truncated form. We pick up mid sentence in verse 19, and stop mid sentence in verse 20. Let’s finish out with verse 20, “And surely I am with you always …”
The word which jumped out at me when reading the original Greek is ‘see,’ “… and you will see that I and within you …” See isn’t in most of our translations. As we apprentice, we will see Jesus within ourselves. That is significantly different than Him just saying He is always with us. Our translations don’t require anything of us, this translation does. We should see … do you see this in yourseslf?
I also spotted the I AM. “I am all the days ….” Whoa, what? Upon further inspection, “The fascinatingly irregular verb ειμι (eimi) means to be.” Do you see it there? I was, I am, and I will be. Eh-weh/God said, “This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial [name] to all generations.” (Exodus 3). This points us back to the immersing in the name [shem]. “I am all the days until the joint completion of the age.” Take a moment to grab on to that one. Going to leave the “I am all the days,” alone, that is a big concept right there I tell you.
Let’s look back at the beginning in Verse 18.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Matthew 28 NIV
Here we have the why? Why do we want this commission? Jesus said, “it was given to me all authority in to heaven and unto earth.”
Jesus was given all authority in heaven and earth, therefore, you apprentice by traveling, immersing into the Name, and teaching the commandments and you will see I AM within you all the days until the joint completion of the age.
Now that is a heavy commissioning, Did you simply take it or did you accept it? If you simply took it, it will be a casual element in your life. Maybe you should considering giving it back and this time accepting it. When it is fully accepted it, it will BE your life.