Dr. Ray Pritchard

The story is told in Matthew 28:18-20. This is the story of the famous last words of Jesus Christ. If you're familiar with your Bible you know that the words are called the Great Commission. And justly so. Because the words that Jesus spoke that day were a charter and a foundation and a blueprint for the movement that his followers were going to establish after he was gone. These words are important to us for three reasons.

First, these words are important because, at least in Matthew's gospel, they are the last words of Jesus. Last words are always important. When a loved one dies, one of our questions is, Did he or she have any last words? We all realize that the last words that people say represent that which is closest to their heart. So these words are important because they are the last words of Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew's gospel.

Second, these words are important because they explain what the followers of Jesus Christ are to do in the long period between his first coming and his second coming. Jesus knew it would be a long time before he would come back. Just before he departed for heaven, he gave them these last words which are the marching orders of the Christian church. These verses describe what you and I are to be doing during that long period of waiting between the first coming and second coming.

Third, these words are important because they apply without exception to all Christians at all times, in all places, in every possible situation. Four times he uses "all" or some form of the word "all." Notice verse 18, "All authority has been given to me." Verse 19, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." Verse 20, "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and surely I will be with you always." That's very clear, isn't it? All authority, all nations, everything, always. The words of Jesus Christ have a permanent and enduring and universal validity for you and for me. That's why they were given and that's why they were recorded. We ought to pay special attention to what Jesus is saying here.

Excerpted from "Famous Last Words" from Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).