This verse is the farewell statement made by Jesus before He ascended to heaven.
He gave the eleven disciples a specific assignment to go and make disciples of all the nations.
Jesus recognized the importance of discipleship and the impact it will make on the whole world.
He made Himself twelve disciples during His earthly ministry and taught them the virtues of true discipleship. At some point, Jesus appointed many more people to work in His ministry,
Luke 10 verses 1 and 2 says,
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
He knew there is a need to make more disciples spread the gospel to sustain the values He left.
Dallas Willard states “Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.”
Jesus instructed them to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to show they have believed in Him and are ready to follow Him.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16 verse 24)
Who wrote Matthew 28:19 and when was it written?
Matthew 28:19 was traditionally been attributed to St. Matthew the Evangelist by biblical scholars. He is one of the twelve Apostles who was described in the text as a tax collector. It was composed in Greek, probably sometime after 70 CE.
What is the context of Matthew 28?
The context of Matthew 28 talks about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His appearance, and the Great Commission.
The resurrection of Jesus forms the basis of the foundation of Christianity.
Jesus died for the remission of sins for all and for everyone to have eternal life.
This concluding chapter of Matthew reveals four major unfailing proofs of this belief, right from the testimony of the angel, His appearance to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the confession of the opponents that were upon the guard, and finally Christ’s appearance to the disciples in Galilee where He gave them the great commission.
Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. It is expected that he would have written out some of the words of Jesus as they were spoken by Him.
On the first day of the week, Sunday, the third day after Jesus’s death, something miraculous happened at Jesus’ tomb. A mighty angel of the Lord whose countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow, descended from heaven right before the guards and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it.
This fearful event accompanied by the great earthquake prompted fear in the guards that they all fainted and became like dead men.
The angel encouraged the women against their fears and gave them a specific message to take back to the disciples: that Jesus has risen and that He is going before them to Galilee where they will see Him.
Jesus, Himself appeared to them on their way to confirm the word of the angel,
And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me. ( Matthew 28 verses 9 and 10 )
The Jewish religious leaders bribe the guards to lie and spread a story that His followers took the body. The chief priests and elders pay these Roman soldiers enough to say that they fell asleep on duty and Jesus’ followers came and took His body away.
They undertook to secure them from the sword of Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the sword of God’s justice which comes upon those who lie against Him. This fake story is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
Jesus finally met His disciples in Galilee and commissioned them to make disciples of people from all nations on earth not only their own nation, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all He has commanded them. He gave them the assurance that they are not alone,
Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ( Matthew 28 verses 20 )
The main purpose of this chapter is to confirm to the whole world that Jesus Christ is risen and all authority over heaven and the earth has been given to Him.
What is the message of Matthew 28:19?
The message of Matthew 28:19 is to spread the gospel of Jesus all over the world.
This message talks about the Great Commission but it is not complete without adding the last verse of the chapter. ( Matthew 28 verse 20 )
This mission is for believers to go into the world and make more disciples by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and following up with these new converts until they are established in the faith and continue to worship and obey Jesus now and in eternity to the glory of God.
The last verse states the specific message to teach the people. Jesus told His disciples to teach people all the things He has commanded them and also gave them the assurance that He is with them always, even to the end of the age.
This is the ministry of every child of God.
Jesus said in John 15 verse 16,
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
The clarion call by Jesus is not limited to a call for salvation of souls but also for saved souls to learn of Jesus and keep learning throughout their lives until they become Disciples of Christ as they grow in their spiritual lives.
The message translation of Matthew 28 verse 19 states,
“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Our duty as believers is to keep replicating ourselves until the whole world is filled up with people with knowledge of Christ.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” meaning
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” means to teach more people about the knowledge of Christ
The word disciple in simple terms means follower. The principle of leadership and followership is encouraged in the Christian faith. We have seen this demonstrated right from the old testament to the new testament.
Elisha served and followed Elijah till death and he received the mantle of leadership.
He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. ( 2 Kings 2 verse 13 )
Joshua also did the same and became the leader of the Israelites when Moses gave up the ghost. He followed Moses for forty years and then led the Israelites into the Promised Land. ( Numbers 27 verse 18 )
The disciples of Jesus in this case also followed Him faithfully and became the new leaders of the early church.
To make disciples of all nations, therefore, means to make more Christian leaders from the Jews and the Gentiles, meaning those that are already believers and those that have not given their lives to Jesus. Initially, they were restricted to Judea but now they are charged to all the nations of the world.
Jesus told them in Matthew 10 verses 5 to 7,
“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Our task will be to convert the lost to faith, baptize them by bringing them to a public profession of faith, and teach them the doctrine of holiness according to the word of God. This will be achieved by water baptism with the use of the trinitarian formula as the type of baptismal formula.
The form of baptism mostly in practice by the christian church today is water baptism.
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” meaning
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” means ensuring they profess the faith with baptism in the three persons within the Godhead.
Jesus instructed His disciples to make more disciples and not to end it there. He knew it is impossible to survive this new status of being a disciple of God without taking responsibility.
Taking responsibilities also requires the help of God which I believe is why Jesus asked them to baptize the people. When you are baptized, your faith is strengthened which automatically deepens your relationship with God.
Dr. David Oyedepo referred to disciples as Christ Disciplined Believers.
People will like to see you practice what you teach or preach.
In 1 Corinthians 11 verse 1, Paul says,
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Jesus wants people that can boldly make the same statement as Paul made above.
Remember, the mission of Christ is to spread the gospel to individuals of all nations of the earth. People learn from what they hear but they learn faster from what they see.
1 Timothy 4 verse 12 says,
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
This is possible with the help of God. Be a good ambassador of Christ as you spread the gospel.
What is the difference in biblical translations of Matthew 28:19 (NKJV, KJV, NIV & ESV)?
Matthew 28:19 NKJV biblical translation “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 28:19 KJV biblical translation “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Matthew 28:19 NIV biblical translation “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Matthew 28:19 ESV biblical translation “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,”
There is no difference in the four translations between NKJV, KJV, NIV, and ESV.
KJV states, teach all nations while the other three translations (NKJV, NIV, and ESV) states make disciples of all nations. To make disciples of all the nations means to teach all the nations what they have learned during their discipleship with Jesus.
The four translations are written almost the same and have the same meaning.
How do I apply Matthew 28:19 to my life?
Applying Matthew 28:19 to my life is to make evangelism my lifestyle.
The will of God is for every unsaved to be saved according to the scripture.
1 Timothy 2 verse 3 to 4,
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Jesus also mentioned in John 4 verse 34,
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
We as believers should imitate Jesus as Paul mentioned in In 2 Corinthians 11 verse 1.
Apostle Paul also confirms this in Romans 1 verse 16,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Let evangelism be your lifestyle. Be a part of His kingdom’s advancement and watch How He decorates you with honour.
What is Matthew 28:19 prayer?
Eternal Rock of Ages, thank you for the salvation of my souls. Your word says the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few. Count me among the labourers in your vineyard to reach out to every unsaved soul, I come in contact with it, in Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN
There is joy in heaven when a single soul repent.
The gospel of good news is continuous gospel until Jesus returns. Jesus told the disciples in verse 20 of Matthew 20,
“Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It is a lifetime assignment. That is why Jesus guaranteed them He is with them until the end of the world.
The Great Commission is not just to convert sinners but to make more followers of Christ, baptizing them as an act of obedience to God which signifies being identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. The human being or human flesh is sinful, these are good reasons the disciples of eternal life should be given much time.