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The Great Commission

1. What is the Great Commission?
It is a command from Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20 AMP) to his first disciples what he wanted them (and us) to do after he left earth.

This command is also directed to all those who know Jesus through all the centuries since 33 CE ("Common Era" used by Jews, also known as AD) when Jesus died, rose again and ascended into heaven and leading up to this moment and to you and to me.

Here's how it happened
After rising from the dead and showing himself to many, Jesus asked his closest associates, his disciples, to meet him in Galilee. They met as planned. "And when they saw Him, they fell down and worshiped Him: but some doubted. Jesus approached and breaking the silence said to them, "All authority (all power and rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be)." (Matthew 28:17-20 Amplified New Testament).

What it means to us
It's people like you and like me who help other people to follow Jesus and then we help them to help still other people to follow Jesus. It's a huge "Whisper down the Lane" except that the message and effect remains the same over time. It's so wonderful to have a relationship with Jesus but you must pass on the good news!

Sowing seed to bring a harvest
Sowing seed to bring a harvest

The effects of your obedience
Your obedience to the Great Commission, sharing your faith in Jesus and helping new believers get on their feet, will have a wonderful effect now and forever. You will be one God's shining stars forever. He will not love you more (he already loves you 100%) but your life will have eternal effects.

"Those who turn many to righteousness (to uprightness and right standing with God) [shall give forth light] like the stars forever and ever." (Daniel 12:3 Amplified Old Testament)

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, a non-profit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., speaks of the Prominence of Evangelism:
"We believe that the ultimate purpose of living is to know and glorify God and to attain eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, beginning within our own families and then reaching out to a suffering humanity that does not know of His love and sacrifice."

2. Great Commission Locations

Everyone needs Jesus
Everyone needs Jesus

The book of Acts says you are to start with your own circle of contacts where you live (family and friends) and then move outward.
"You shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Amplified New Testament

I live in Pleasanton, California. I talk with people in stores and on the street. I also have family living in other places far away but with the telephone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., today, we are much closer than if we were living in the first century of the Common Era (or AD). These people are my Jerusalem. As I travel around, perhaps on the weekend, and meet people and talk with them about the Lord, probably in California, they are my Judea and Samaria. Also included might be class mates and teachers who aren't my best friends.

If I go on a trip on vacation maybe to Europe where I might have to speak another language, or maybe go to a place right here in the U.S. that is very different from where I live, this would be my ends of the earth. I could travel via a website, blog, chat room, online bulletin board, Facebook, Twitter, texting, cell phone or satellite phone.

It's not so important to classify your sharing Jesus with others as it is to share wherever you are and whenever you can, but it illustrates that the Great Commission is all pervasive.

3. Examples in my life
Here are some examples from my own life. I could not do this without Jesus helping me so please don't say, "I could never do that." Say, "If Jesus wanted me to do that, I could do that too!"

My Jerusalem
I shared Jesus with my father for 24 years and he finally made his choice to receive Jesus into his heart and life. Family can be easy or hard. Don't give up.

A man from Bulgaria (Communist at the time) somehow was allowed to visit the U.S. He came and ate Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Although he was an atheist, I shared Jesus with him. He needed time to make his decision (as many people do), so he went back to Bulgaria and I never saw him again. God opened this opportunity at my own dinner table. (Watch for people visiting the U.S. You may think they live here. Talk to them. You may find they are here for 1 day or two weeks or to go to an American university. Ask them to have coffee with you or invite them to dinner. They may be future heads of states.)

Today Bulgaria is free and missionaries go there legally. When I met a couple who were going to Bulgaria, I drove home and brought back to them the Jesus Film in Bulgarian and the Four Spiritual Laws in Bulgarian. Where did I meet them? I met them about 2 miles from home at church.

My Judea and Samaria
Jerusalem was in Judea while Samaria was in what we call "the other side of the tracks," a place one really didn't want to visit.

My Judea might be the college I attend, which includes students, teachers and administrators. It might be the people I work with.

I lived and worked in the Grand Canyon for 4 months. One night after I had clocked out, I shared Jesus with a young man who was mopping the floor. He prayed to receive Christ. We got to know each other much better and sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon every night after the sun went down and talked about God. He grew in Christ and at the end of the tourist season we both went back to where we lived.

Samaria is a place you probably wouldn't choose to go to unless you were obeying the Great Commission. It's not at the ends of the earth and it's not home.

I don't like crowds and I don't shop but I went to the local flea market and witnessed at a fixed location every Saturday. I went to a shopping mall and did the same thing 7 days a week. They both were fewer than 5 miles from where I lived but I never went shopping while I was there, I only witnessed. Because people could find me, people could decide over time to come and talk with me. You might love to go to a shopping mall so this wouldn't be your Samaria. City folks may not like a rural setting; country people may not like the city. In that case even if you just go two miles, you might now be in your Samaria.

Maybe you like working with children and God sends you to people who are much older. This could be your Samaria. Don't despise it. God may be taking you out of your comfort zone so you will have to trust him and he can work better.

My ends of the earth
I went on a 60 day tour with a Christian college in 1972. We went to 10 countries and spent two weeks in Israel. While in Jerusalem (literally) I realized for the first time that people in some countries are not allowed to have Bibles and don't have access to any Bible. Within moments of learning this, I found a Bible bookstore with Bibles in many languages, including the 3 languages of the countries where we were going next. I bought 30 of each and took them into the 3 countries. I had booklets in those languages explaining how to ask Jesus into their lives. I'd never been to these countries, I might not get back out and I might never come back home. But all went well as I could speak German, the second language of each of these countries. As it turns out I was interrogated in Bulgaria but that's another wonderful story about God's deliverance!

At one point in my life God spoke to me clearly and said, "Go to Israel and it's not negotiable." So I went and I was gone 18 months although I had no idea it was going to be only 18 months. I experienced the truth that the Great Commission says to go, but doesn't mention coming back. I did come back but I left thinking it was a one-way trip. I had to be very careful but I did get to witness in Israel to people who asked me to witness to them. I had to trust God that he would put them in circumstances that would make them want to ask. While there I learned Hebrew. Having been there allowed me to intelligently create the Hebrew page, accessible from (look at the upper right for the language list).

Although I am home in my Jerusalem, I try to figure out how to get the Gospel to people who live both nearby and far away. I work on the computer to accomplish this and I use materials in other languages provided by other organizations. I am an aggregator of presentations of the Gospel!

You may think that the people you see at bus stops, on the bus, and at colleges are U.S. citizens. I always ask, "Where are you from?" I learned that there are many Chinese from mainland China here for a month to learn English or earn a degree or work for two years. I give them a tract in English and Chinese so they can learn English better. Please! These people are going back home! Send the gospel with them! I was on a bus headed for Fisherman's Wharf to witness for the day. An old man sat down next to a woman and announced with joy, "I'm from China!" He probably could hardly believe he was in the U.S. The woman next to him said in a scathing tone, "So?" He got up and moved to the back of the bus. I got up and went back and welcomed him to the United States and gave him a tract in Chinese only. I did not want him to think we hate him. Invite a person to grab a meal at a fast food restaurant. If you can, pay! Show some love!

This is how I feel sometimes!
I'm not sure what's happening!
This is how I feel sometimes! I'm not sure what's happening!

4. Famous examples
The most famous example is Jesus. He left heaven, a perfect place, to come to us.

Other Examples
Gladys Aylward

Go into the whole world!
Go into the whole world!

5. Books
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
The movie The Hiding Place

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
The movie The Cross and the Switchblade

God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Peace with God by Billy Graham (Read it now! Click on the chapter numbers on the left):

The Prayer Life
Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

Shout it from the Housetops by Pat Robertson

Make your life count! Believe God and go for it!

You don't just have to read the Bible or books about the lives of strong obedient believers throughout the centuries! You can become such a person yourself! Talk to God about your life and ask him what you can do!

Last updated: 05/10/2017

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