Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
(Matthew 28: 16 – 20 NKJV).
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
(Luke 24: 44 – 48 NKJV).
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
(Mark 16: 14 – 18 NKJV).
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
(John 20: 19 – 23 NKJV).
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
(Acts 1: 4 – 9 NKJV).
For those who may prefer short forms the above excerpts contain the full text from the five accounts of the Apostle’s commission – the great commission.
The facts are -
- Jesus appeared and spoke these things to His apostles during two or more meetings.
- The only persons present and addressed were the eleven apostles.
- These were precise instructions to the hand chosen apostles from Jesus as to what was going to soon take place.
- Jesus promised that a specific embodiment/indwelling of the Holy Spirit would be with each of them – “He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. And “…I send the promise of the Father upon you.”
- But they were also told to “remain in Jerusalem” until they received “power” from “on high” – when they would be baptized or “immersed with the Holy Spirit.”
- He also imparted to them an understanding of “the Law, the prophets, and the Psalms.”
- He told them it was not about a physical kingdom, but the sign of the coming spiritual kingdom would be with “power from on high.”
- “Repentance and remission of sins” in Jesus’ name would be taught by the eleven “beginning at Jerusalem.”
- They would baptize/immerse converts by the authority of God: “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
- Remittance of sins would be granted through the stated process: teaching, belief, repentance, immersion and obedience.
- Jesus stated that these eleven men had been “witnesses” both to His death and resurrection.
- They were commanded to “go make disciples… and teach” and to immerse all who believed.
- They would work signs.
- They would fulfill things written in prophecy.
- The eleven would teach and make converts and would have the authority to command these disciples “to observe everything that I have commanded you” – what the apostles had themselves been taught by Jesus.
- Those who would not believe and who are not immersed would be condemned by God.
- Jesus told them He had been granted “all authority… in heaven and on earth.”
- Jesus “was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight” once the instructions were complete.
- There is no record here (or anywhere else), that Jesus will ever set foot upon the earth again.