The Great Commission

by Brennan Kolbe

God is Holy

“…for I am God and not a man, the HolyOne in your midst…” I love this description of God in Hosea 11:9 because it helps us see two things at the same time. God is the Holy One: He is the awesome God. He is perfect. He is unique, unchangeable, and his love and glory shine brightly into our world. In a nutshell, God is the Holy One. And this God is the one who is “in your midst.” He is incomparable, and yet he is near. He is close. He is present. He speaks. He has made a covenant of love with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. 

The Great Commission

I’m taken back to this description when I read the “Great Commission.” After Jesus rises from the dead, and right before he ascends into heaven, he gives his followers a command: “make disciples.” This is not a suggestion but an imperative. If you follow Jesus, you are called to “make disciples.” The command was given to his closest disciples, the 12 who followed him on earth. But the commission trickles down to every believer and every local church. Our purpose, our mission, is not something we invent. It is given by Jesus.  

How do we make disciples?

Jesus explains the how behind his command. How do we make disciples? Jesus tells us: by baptizing and teaching. The verse can be translated this way… “make disciples by baptizing… and by teaching…” Discipleship happens when two things happen. People outside of Jesus come to know him. And they are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. And then people grow as other believers teach them to obey all that Jesus says.  


The Commission is simple. What do we do Jesus? Go and make disciples. How do we do it Jesus? Baptize them and teach them. Teach them how to live a new way of life. Teach them how to obey and follow me. And it isn’t just taught but caught. Model this new life for them as an example. 

All Authority is Given to Jesus 

So what does this have to do with Hosea 11:9? Well, we can see the what and the how of the Great Commission, but Jesus also gives us the why through two statements that mirror this description of God in Hosea. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” JESUS IS LORD. He is the Holy One, the risen one. But he’s no distant king. He’s not like the president that I can only see on tv a few times a year. In Matthew 28:20, we get some of the greatest words in the Bible, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The Holy One is in our midst. 

You Have a Purpose

Praise God we have the what, the how, and the why of discipleship. If you are a follower of Jesus, pray about one person this week that you can help to follow Jesus for the remainder of this year. If someone is on your heart, consider asking them to coffee. Or, talk to your pastor, and ask for some advice on how to start an intentional relationship in order to help someone grow. You can be used by God. Elon Musk might build starship rockets. But that doesn’t compare to the privilege and work of building disciples. Jesus takes us and makes us fishers and farmers of men. We sow seeds, we water them. And God grows them into his kingdom.