Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the Great Commission and I’ve even published a little e-book on the subject which you can download for free from the right hand sidebar of this blog (or you can buy it from Amazon).
One of the reasons I’ve written so much about these verses is that despite their prominence in Christian and mission writing, they are often poorly understood. This is excellently illustrated in a superb blog post entitled Greek-Geeking the Great Commission. It is geeky and it does have a bit of Greek in it, but don’t worry, it isn’t too complex – go and read it! Here is a sample to whet your appetite.
Idea #1 – Going. The idea here is not “go on a mission trip” or “go somewhere.” The participle conveys a continuous action that is already happening right now, but that also continues to happen into the future. So, the idea is more like… “As you’re going along in your life.” The great commission is not a verbal command to go (stop, go back, and read that sentence again). It is a command to disciple as you are already going. Going where? Answer:everywhere.
That means that the great commission is not about going on trips to evangelize people who speak a different language, even though that is a legitimate thing to do. The “going” in the great commission is best understood as a fact that is taken for granted. It would be more like, “While you’re going through your daily routine, you, yes you – you who work there at the prison or the restaurant – as you are going along doing what you do, and going wherever yougo… disciple!” That means that every person can participate in the great commission without ever going on a trip, because we’re all involved in this Greek participle “going.” We are all going through life in the every-day stuff. We all have a well worn path that we walk every day, and that is the place where we do the great commission, which is to disciple.