It’s that time of year again: New Year’s resolution season. Your local gym is packed with the same people who resolved last year (and the year before) at this same time to get in shape. It’s the exercise equivalent of church patrons who only attend on Christmas and Easter.
New Year’s resolutions are so popular in our society because they signal the chance to hit a reset button; have a fresh start; chart a new course. With enough motivation and discipline, things can be different; things can be better. There is optimism that, now, things will finally be different. At last, old things will be made new.
But was the great commission like a New Year’s resolution? When Jesus instructs his disciples (and the church) to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, was he creating a goal to reach? A challenge to fulfill? Or was he doing something else entirely?
The great commission is not a resolution to be attempted but a command to be obeyed. Claiming the authority of a warrior king, Jesus calls the church to advance his militant mission through the spread of the gospel.
The great commission is not a resolution to be attempted but a command to be obeyed because:
- A resolution is suggested, the great commission is commanded
- A resolution is attempted, the great commission is to be obeyed
- A resolution’s success is hoped for, the great commission’s success is promised
The treadmill next to you at the local gym may be vacated as early as next month when the January workout rush subsides. But King Jesus promises his presence with us in in spiritual conflict as he sounds the battle cry of the great commission: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the ends of the ages.”