USA (MNN) — A recent Barna study discovered 51 percent of American churchgoers have never heard of the Great Commission. Additionally, 25 percent of those surveyed said they do know the term ‘the Great Commission’, but do not know what it means.
That means out of every four church attendees in the United States, three of them do not know what the Great Commission is, even if they have heard the term before.
Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries shares, “You could say, ‘Well, maybe people don’t know it by that term’ because the words ‘Great Commission’ are not in the Bible…. But if you go through the details of the report, no matter how you look at it, there is among Christian people a stunning lack of awareness, of understanding of what the final words of Jesus to us before He left really were all about.”
The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20 as Jesus spoke with His disciples before ascending to Heaven:
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.”
So why is the Great Commission so important? Why is it critical that Christians know what it is?
As Hutchcraft puts it, these are Jesus’ final orders to be carried out. However, we cannot obey Jesus’ orders if we do not even know them.
“There are one of two things you do with orders: you obey them or you disobey them. You don’t just understand them! ‘Oh, thank you, those are nice orders. That’s great.’
“I looked up the word ‘commission’, since we like to call this ‘the Great Commission’. A commission is ‘the act of entrusting or giving authority to perform a task’. So Jesus is giving to those of us who belong to Him, He is trusting us with His Good News, with the message that literally eternities depend on — life or death information.”
Hutchcraft explains, “What people know and do with Jesus determines where they will be forever, and He is giving us authority to perform this task…. This is exciting! You will be in your world, your personal world, you will be the face of Jesus, you will be the voice of Jesus, you will be the hands of Jesus. Pretty exciting stuff.”
In discussing the Great Commission and its importance, Hutchcraft says it reminds him of the Changing of the Guard Ritual at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
“I’ve been there a few times, but only once was I close enough to hear what they say to each other at the Changing of the Guard. They have been doing this with great seriousness. They even live on the grounds. This is one of the highest honors in the military to be one of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
During the Changing of the Guard, the retiring sentinel says to the relieving sentinel coming on-duty, “Post and orders, remain as directed.” In response, the relieving sentinel says, “Orders acknowledged.”
In reflection, Hutchcraft says, “Two-thousand years ago on a hillside in Galilee, Jesus gave His orders: ‘Go and tell the world about me.’ That passed on and His disciples said, ‘Orders acknowledged.’ And for 20 centuries, one generation has said to the next as one generation has kind of gone off-duty, ‘Orders remain unchanged.’ And the job of the new generation is to salute and say, ‘Orders acknowledged to carry them out in our generation.’”
If you are not sure where to start, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries has several resources to help you share your faith and make disciples for Christ. Click here to learn more at Ron Hutchcraft Ministries’ website.
Ultimately, it is not enough just to acknowledge Christ’s orders. We have to carry them out. For our generation, in our time, Hutchcraft affirms this Great Commission:
“The orders of Jesus in our very ever-changing world remain unchanged for us. He said, ‘Go and make disciples.’”