What Makes the Great Commission So Great: The Authority Christ Exercises

Posted by R. Fowler White

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.” (Matt 28:18-20)

In what follows, take a look at the first of three truths that make the Great Commission so great. The first truth before us is the authority Christ exercises, the position He fills. Look at 28:18, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Jesus tells His disciples that He now occupies and executes the office of king. As a reward for His obedience to the Father’s will, Jesus is now King of kings and Lord of lords. He is in control of all things in heaven and on earth, including—notice—Satan, the world, sin, and death. He is Lord of all. He now has and now wields all authority over the entire order of creation, both heaven and earth. All creatures, visible and invisible, be they nature, angels, and man, are at His disposal. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Other writers in the NT testify to the great truth of the authority that Christ now exercises. In Ephesians 1 Paul speaks of how in Christ God exerted the immeasurable greatness of His power and the working of His great might when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. The apostle John refers to the same truth in Revelation 1 where he speaks of Jesus Christ as the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Still further in Hebrews 1-2 we hear that Jesus is the Son of God, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. Jesus, says Hebrews 1, after making purification for sins, has taken His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high. As a result, according to Hebrew 2, we do see Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.

Too many in the church today believe and teach that Christ does not here and now occupy and execute the office of king. At best, this false view gives us a Great Commission without a King to issue it, while it deprives us of the motivating vision of the present glory and majesty of Christ. We dare not forget that Jesus is truly now His Royal Highness from whom we have the edict to lead others to a saving knowledge of Him. In fact, let’s recall that Christ’s present kingship is one of the truths that caused doubters on the mountain of commissioning (Matt 28:17) to become witnesses of mighty faith.

Through Matthew the Evangelist, God would teach us and have us believe that Christ now occupies and executes the office of king. As such, He restrains and conquers all His and our enemies and powerfully orders all things for His own glory and our good. This truth is the first of three in Matthew 28 that make the Great Commission so great. Confessing the authority Christ now exercises, the position He now fills, let’s go and make disciples.

4 Comments

  1. October 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    […] is it that makes the Great Commission so great? In addition to the authority Christ exercises, it’s the agenda Christ has set for His church. There are no substitutes, no alternatives. The […]

  2. October 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    […] is it that makes the Great Commission so great? Not only the authority Christ exercises and the agenda Christ has set, but also the assistance Christ gives us. As we spread the gospel to […]

  3. January 26, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Good insight on the authority of Christ and the meaning of the great commission.


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