On Teaching the Great Commission In Our Age

Almost every passage of Scripture gets challenged by atheists and skeptics these days. The Great Commission is no exception.

The first and most important lesson we all need to get out of Matthew 28:18-20 is what’s right there on the surface: Jesus Christ is Lord, and he has sent us to make disciples in his name and in his power. The world mission movement is God’s most exciting work, and we are privileged be alive in the generation that is very likely to see the Great Commission finally fulfilled. Think of it: the great mission of all the ages, and we’re the ones who will see it accomplished!

In today’s post, though, I chose to go a different direction. When we teach to larger congregations or audiences, there is always likely to be someone there who is questioning, seeking, doubting—and who is painfully aware of common objections to Christianity. For them, the question is not only whether Christianity is true, but whether indeed it is good. My audience in this blog contains more than a few of those questioners.

And if your church or other teaching audience is larger than a few dozen people, chances are good that there’s someone there who is also asking these kinds of questions.

If I were teaching the Great Commission in my church, I would concentrate on the mission-sending aspect of what Christ said there, but I would also spend at least a few moments addressing skeptical objections. And as you can see, that need not be negative, but it can also carry a very positive vision of the goodness of Jesus Christ and his call upon his church.