Article | Missions magazine

What Makes the Great Commission So Great?

Aug 17, 2022

By Paul D. Bramsen

I heard it from childhood: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. . . .” (Matthew 28:18–20) The globe-shaped poster at the front of the auditorium during my church’s Sunday-to-Sunday Mission Conference put it as simply, “Go ye!” (Mark 16:15, KJV)

Missionaries with nightly messages and stories and slides or 16mm films (some with shocking cross-cultural content) underscored our personal responsibility to participate in this global task of making disciples of “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) To this day, I remember a message—titled “Here Am I, Lord; Send My Sister!”—challenging me at 10 years old that my role in the Great Commission could not be transferred to someone else. My Savior and Lord wanted to include me. And He has.

What makes this mission so great? The Great Commission is:

Great in its plan
In the Bible’s first chapter, God hints at His blueprint for Earth. After creating the first man and woman “in His own image,” God “blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.’” (Genesis 1:26–28)

God’s command to His two image-bearers went beyond biological reproduction. His intent was for His glory to go global and fill the earth with beings who could think and feel like Him,
know Him, magnify Him, and enjoy Him forever.

But those image-bearers rebelled and rejected God’s plan. Humankind’s relationship with the Creator-Owner was broken. So Adam produced sons and daughters “in his own likeness, after his image.” (Genesis 5:3–4) Consequently, each of Adam’s descendants has inherited his rebellious, sin-bent nature and, with it, spiritual, physical, and eternal separation from God.

But the Lord had a plan to rescue, redeem, and reconcile helpless sinners to Himself. He promised to send to earth His own Son, who “is the image of the invisible God” and who spanned the mighty gulf to become human and make “peace through the blood of His cross”—“[suffering] once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (Colossians 1:15, 20; 1 Peter 3:18)
What a plan!

Great in its privilege
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself “has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) His plan is to use you and me as His image-bearing ambassadors to help the world’s diverse people groups understand who He is and what He has done for them so they can be forgiven, declared righteous, and indwelled by His Spirit. Then, they can enjoy a relationship with Him and become His bright image-bearers in a dark world.

Think of it: God Himself (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has called us to be “workers together with Him.” (2 Corinthians 6:1)

How immeasurably blessed we as “God’s fellow workers” are to experience His presence, hear His voice, follow His leading, and find Him faithful through times of intense spiritual warfare and triumph (1 Corinthians 3:9).
What a privilege!

Great in its partnerships
Over decades of ministry, my wife, Carol, and I have watched God multiply His work in ways we could never have imagined. And it has happened through thousands of partnerships.

As we walk with God, He privileges us to work with His redeemed people. On the night when Jesus was betrayed, He prayed that all who would believe in Him “may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20–21)

We can do nothing of eternal value by ourselves. Our Lord calls us into a life of dependence on Him with interdependence on the members of His body—each of us fulfi lling a role in the greatest mission of all time for the One who promised: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
What a partnership! What a privilege! What a plan! 

Paul Bramsen serves in Other Overseas Service (MPH Day 27).

Originally published in Missions magazine, August 2022. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at