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Excerpts from Matthew Henry on Mt: 28:16-20

  • Christ now delivered to his apostles the great charter of his kingdom in the world, was sending them out as his ambassadors, and here gives them their credentials.
  • He has all power on earth too;…This our Lord Jesus tells them, not only to satisfy them of the authority to commission them, and to bring them out in the execution of their commission,but to take off the offence of the cross;  they had no reason to be ashamed of Christ crucified, when they saw him thus glorified.
  • [2.] What is the principal intention of this commission; to disciple all nations. μαθητεύσατε–“Admit them disciples; do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations;”
  • The work which the apostles had to do, was, to set up the Christian religion in all places, and it was honourable work;  the achievements of the mighty heroes of the world were nothing to it.  They conquered the nations for themselves and made them miserable;  the apostles conquered them for Christ and made them happy.
  • [3.] Their instructions for executing this commission-First, they must admit disciples by the sacred rite of baptism; “Go into all nations, preach the gospel to them, work miracles among them, and persuade them to come in themselves, and bring their children with them, into the church of Christ, and then admit them and theirs into the church by washing them with water;” either dipping them in the water, or pouring or sprinkling water upon them, which seems the post proper, because the thing is most frequently expressed so, as Isa. xliv. 3, I will pour my Spirit on thy seed.  And, Tit. iii. 5,6, Which he shed on us abundantly.  And, Ezek. xxxvi. 25, I will sprinkle clean water upon you.  And, Isa. lii. 15, So shall he sprinkle many nations; which seems a prophecy of this commission to baptize the nations.
  • Christ was now sending them to set up his kingdom in the world, which was a great undertaking.

These are excerpted from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Vol. V.–Matthew to John, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, printed in the United States of America. (No copyright in the volume that I am using)  Excerpts are from pages 444-448.

This page exists as a study help for for my writings on understanding the commissions.  I excerpted these to show the historic nature of the “Great Commission” at the end of Matthew’s Gospel as being a commission to “conquer the world for Christ”, or to “Christianize” the world.  The interpretation of this commission as primarily to bring nations under the sovereignty of Christ I believe to be correct.  I DO NOT believe this to be the calling of the Church, the Body of Christ, which the Apostle Paul was called to “call out” of this present evil age.  We are beseeching the people of the world to be reconciled to God.  This commission to bring the nations under the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will be again taken up in the Kingdom age, when He will have taken His great power and will have reigned.

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