Foundations: The Great Commission and the Power to Be a Witness

The verse below contains the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He disappeared up into the clouds, and an angel tells the disciples that He will return in the same way.

Matthew 28:118-20 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.”

We call this command to “go” the Great Commission. Jesus’ disciples (and that includes you!) were commanded to go and make disciples. Who were they to make disciples of? What two specific things were involved in making disciples?

First, all nations were to be included in this disciple-making. This wasn’t limited to the Jews or the nation of Israel. God’s salvation was for everyone. They were told to baptize them and to teach them to obey the commands of Jesus. We’ve talked about baptism already, which means bringing them into their new life in Christ by faith. We’ve also talked about continuing to walk in our salvation. That’s where the second part of the Great Commission comes in. We can’t just leave people at the door; we need to usher them into this life with Christ, this life in Christ. They walk with Jesus by obeying His commands.

The disciples weren’t left alone to do the task. The Holy Spirit came upon them to give them the power to accomplish it.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit gave them the power to be His witnesses. They gave testimony to the life of Christ. They had been with Jesus. We can do the same and give testimony of Jesus in our transformed lives. We’re given the power to do it by those gifts we were given. Some are gifted with evangelism and quite naturally invite people into the life of Christ. For me, when I was filled with the Holy Spirit, the Lord started bringing people into my life and I spent time with them and listened to them and shared God’s word with them. Some I even formally taught, doing one-on-one Bible studies with them to lead them to Christ. God used the gift of teaching He put in me to lead others to Him, to be a witness. The point is that it doesn’t have to look like one thing.

We are not all called to be street evangelists. You might be gifted in hospitality and you bear witness to the Lord by showing His love by welcoming one and all into your home and showing them kindness and generosity. If you have the Spirit in you, you have this power to be a witness. Pay attention to those the Lord brings into your life. How can you be a witness to them and show them the resurrected life of Christ?

Lesson Point: All Spirit-filled believers have the power to be God’s witness and make disciples.

Challenge Question: When’s the last time you were a witness for Jesus? If this isn’t something that’s a part of your life, then pray and ask for the power to be a witness, for eyes to see the opportunities, and boldness to speak up.