In this lesson, we'll explore the debate surrounding whether or not Jesus gave us a command to 'Go!' in Matthew 28:19. The disagreement revolves around the translation of the Greek participle Πορευθέντες (poreuthentes), which is usually rendered into English as 'go.' The primary question is whether we should interpret 'go' as an imperative. If so, how much emphasis should we place on it, considering that "make disciples" serves as the main verb and imperative in the verse?
Over the years, as missions have gained increasing importance in Western Christian practice, more and more emphasis has been placed on the 'Go' aspect. This has led to many sermon series preached each year, explaining that the Great Commission is to "Go!"
To determine how we should interpret Matthew 28:19, we will examine the other six instances where this participle is used throughout the Gospel of Matthew. We'll discover that while the English word 'go' is a suitable translation, we generally don't emphasize the act of going. Instead, we read those verses with the appropriate emphasis on the imperative.
A significant aspect of our Christian journey is based on how we conceptualize the Great Commandment. Is it a directive to 'go' and redirect our focus globally, or is it a command to 'make disciples'? Making disciples entails starting with ourselves and helping people from all nations progress along the lifelong path of becoming more like Jesus.
By understanding the various uses of this participle within Matthew's Gospel, we will gain profound insights into how it shapes our understanding of the Great Commission.
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Class Handout: https://www.figtreeteaching.com/blog/did-jesus-command-us-to-go
Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary - https://amzn.to/3swj549
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