The Great Commission

Larry Devore
South Bend, Indiana

Did the apostles discharge the great commission by themselves? I believe that the Scriptures point out that they did not. This is an important point because occasionally some brethren will get the idea that the great commission was given only to the apostles and that they fulfilled it, and thus it is not binding upon us today. I believe this is a fallacy.

We have the charge given by Jesus, commonly called the "great commission" recorded in Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24: 46-47; and Matt. 28:18-20. Read. A careful reading of Matthew's account will show that the propagation of the gospel is to be perpetuated. Jesus told the Apostles to "go," to "teach," and to "baptize," and to "teach" again all things that the Lord commanded. So, what were they to do? They were to teach and baptize, and then to teach the ones they had baptized. What did they teach the immersed believers? "All things "which would include teaching others and baptizing them. This would make Christianity a continuous process of teaching down through all generations. This was to continue even after the apostles had died.

The great commission was fulfilled in the first century according to Patti in Col. 1:23, and in harmony with Jesus' teaching in Matt. 24: 14, 31. But the apostles did not do this by themselves. Acts 8:1 teaches otherwise, because it points out that when the church was persecuted, the church (composed of men and women) was scattered abroad ".... except the apostles." So if the great commission was given exclusively to the apostles, then they failed to "go into all the world So it does not fit to apply it only to the apostles. Acts 8:4 points out that the church, when scattered, went "everywhere preaching the word." Even so today, the great commission is incumbent upon Christians. All Christians! Let us resolve to discharge our personal responsibility in taking the gospel across the street, across the country, and across the ocean!


July 9, 1970