Bruce Ashford illustrates that the Great Commission is for all disciples of Christ.
January 19, 2017
Bruce Ashford, Provost, Dean of Faculty, Professor of Theology and Culture and Fellow for the Bush Center for Faith and Culture,* spoke in Binkley chapel on the comprehensive nature of the Great Commission.
Ashford began, “We tend to think of the Great Commission as strictly for international missionaries, don’t we? Is it much broader than this? I think so. Whether you are in student ministry, worship leadership, apologetics, historical theology, or systematic theology, the Great Commission includes you as well.”
Drawing from Matthew 28:18 – “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” – Ashford noted that this text is to be read in light of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. “This is a deliberative reference to the creation account. God spoke to the nothingness and created something – the world we now live in – and Christ is identifying himself as this God, who is Creator.”
An aspect of being God’s disciples, Ashford said, is that we make more disciples. “We are to live in submission to him, proclaim him with our lives and consistently make disciples. Just as the Father has sent me, says Jesus, so I send you to make disciples of all people, not just some.”
Transitioning to the next few verses, Ashford said, “Baptism is a proclamation and display of the gospel. It is also an entrance into God’s community, his redeemed community, the Church. When we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are taking on the name of God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, and Christ.”
Speaking about the comprehensiveness of the Great Commission, Ashford said that the Great Commission speaks to every discipline and arena of life. It is not, he iterated, merely an invitation to international missionaries. “Believers need to be living the gospel before our very nation and also before the Nations. Since the Great Commission is all-encompassing, so should our lives be.”
Concluding the message by painting a picture of the suffering Christ before his passion and desiring to fulfill the will of the Father, Ashford said that Christ bore the sins of the world because of his love for his Father. Ashford asked, “Christ promises that he’ll be with us to the end of the age, so are we living Great Commission lives that are worthy of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection?”
To watch the message, click here.
*Article was updated to reflect Ashford’s title of Provost and Dean of Faculty