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The Great Commission: Part 2 - Making disciples of all nations

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | October 13, 2023 | Matthew 28:19-20


Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 (NIV)


Continuing from our previous devotional on the Great Commission, we now explore the second part of this divine mandate: "Make disciples of all nations". These words reveal the heart of our mission as followers of Christ—discipleship and the global reach of the Gospel. Jesus' command to "make disciples" is central to the Great Commission. Discipleship involves nurturing and guiding individuals in their faith journey, helping them become devoted followers of Christ. Making disciples is not merely about converting people but about walking alongside them as they grow in their relationship with Jesus. It involves teaching, mentoring, and modelling a Christlike life. Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to make disciples "of all nations" emphasizes the universal scope of our mission. Our mission is not limited by geographical or cultural boundaries. We are called to share the Gospel with people from every nation, ethnicity, and background. This inclusivity reflects God's heart for all humanity.

Discipleship involves the essential elements of preaching the gospel, baptism, and teaching. We preach the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and baptize believers into the Christian faith, while teaching involves ongoing instruction and guidance. Baptism marks the beginning of a believer's journey, and teaching ensures their continued growth in faith. It seems important to say that baptism places us into a community that finds its genesis in the Triune God: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are given unity with others in Christ. As disciples, we are called to participate in these aspects of the mandate, facilitating spiritual birth and growth. The second part of the Great Commission, "Make disciples of all nations," reveals the depth of our mission as believers. It calls us to engage in discipleship's transformative work, share the Gospel universally, and rely on Christ's authority as we fulfil this mandate.


The process we call “making disciples” includes evangelism and is done by disciples to make other disciples. That process includes just about everything we do in relation to people around us. As we embrace this mission, may we be passionate about making disciples, sharing the love of Christ with people from every nation, and experiencing the fulfilment of His promise to be with us always.


Heavenly Father, we thank You for the privilege of participating in the Great Commission. Help me to be diligent in making disciples and sharing Your love with people from all nations. May I rely on the presence of Jesus in my mission and find joy in seeing lives transformed by His grace. In His name, I pray. Amen.



The word "nations" is translated from the Greek word: "ἔθνη" (ethnē): This word is the plural form of "ethnos," which refers to a group of people united by language, culture, and ethnicity. It's commonly translated as "nations" or "Gentiles" in the New Testament.

The term "ethnē" is crucial in understanding the universal scope of the Gospel message:

  • Inclusivity of the Gospel: The use of "ethnē" emphasizes that the Gospel is not limited to a specific ethnic or cultural group but is intended for people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Revelation 7:9).

  • Fulfilment of Prophecy: The idea of all nations coming to know God is rooted in Old Testament prophecies, such as Genesis 12:3, where God promises Abraham that all the families of the earth will be blessed through him.

  • New Testament Application: In the New Testament, the term is frequently used to signify the extension of salvation to the Gentiles, emphasizing the breaking down of barriers and the formation of a universal community of believers.

In Matthew 28:19, the command to make disciples of all nations is a radical departure from a more exclusive understanding of God's covenant. It signifies the inclusivity of the Gospel for people of every ethnicity and cultural background. From this, we the following about the Gospel:

  1. Universal Relevance: The use of "ethnē" underscores that the Gospel is not confined to a specific group but is universally relevant. It challenges any form of ethnocentrism and emphasizes God's desire for a diverse and inclusive community of believers.

  2. Cultural Sensitivity: The Great Commission encourages cultural sensitivity in the dissemination of the Gospel. Disciples are called to engage with diverse cultures, recognizing the uniqueness of each group.

  3. Fulfilment of God's Promise: Making disciples of all nations fulfils the promise to Abraham and aligns with the prophetic vision of a global community reconciled to God.

The study of the word "nations" invites us to embrace the inclusive nature of the Gospel, challenging us to break down cultural barriers and actively participate in the mission of making disciples from every ethnic group.

Reflections: consider how your understanding of the universality of the Gospel influences your interactions with people from different cultural backgrounds. How can you actively engage in making disciples across diverse nations?

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