On a Mission: Living Out The Great Commission as a Disciple of Jesus

Before his Ascension into heaven, Jesus left his disciples with a final command.

 Min read
April 15, 2024

Before his Ascension into heaven, Jesus left his disciples with a final command: 

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:18-20).

However, this “Great Commission” wasn’t just meant for the disciples with Him on the mountain but for all of us; because, by virtue of our baptism, we too have become disciples of Christ and are sent on the same mission.

Many Catholics tend to consider the missionary mandate to be a call for the few rather than the obligation of all. We look at people with certain gifts and charisms (or people with large followings on social media) and think that they are just specially qualified by God to bring the Good News to others. I could never do what they do.

But if you look throughout the Bible and even at the Twelve Apostles, you’ll find yourself in good company as God often chose people who seemed “unqualified” for the job.’

The world needs the Good News; and you have it. 

With this gift of faith, you have been given a duty to proclaim it to others–both in word and deed. 

But what does this look like practically speaking?

Begin where you are

While it’s true that everyone is called to evangelize, not everyone is called to give up their jobs and go to faraway lands spreading the Gospel. In fact, your actual neighbor might be in just as much (if not more) need to hear about Jesus than someone in another country.

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta,” St. Mother Teresa wrote. “Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely, right where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your school.”

Consider where God has called you to in this season of life; who are the souls in need of your love and care? Their physical and spiritual well-being are your concern. 

Invest in friendships

For three years of His public ministry, Jesus built up a true friendship with His apostles, and the parables and the preaching that followed flowed from that.

Think about the people in your life and in your community; how can you become an authentic friend to them? Maybe it’s as simple as introducing yourself to a new person at your parish or inviting your neighbors over for dinner. 

True evangelization and conversion rests on the foundation of an Authentic friendship.

Live a life worthy of imitation

Living our life as a true witness to our belief in Jesus is necessary in evangelizing others. When we act on our beliefs, when we “walk the walk,” when we make God the center of our life, it shows and it makes a difference in the lives of the people around us.

Pope St. Paul XI in his papal encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi writes: “Through this wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one.” 

Tell the Good News

However, many of us tend to rely only on our “witness” rather than our words to do the talking for us when it comes to the task of evangelization; but small personal acts of faith and devotion alone are not enough. 

Pope Paul XI continues in Evagenlii Nutiandi: “even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified — what Peter called always having ‘your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have’ — and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus” (No. 22).

Evangelization requires an explicit proclamation of the Gospel message– that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to restore our relationship with God, broken by our sin, because He loved us so immensely. 

Share your story, talk about how you’ve seen God working in your life, and invite others to join you in growing closer to God. 

Walk with Them 

When someone chooses to accept Christ, to become his disciple, they need to be strengthened and have their faith deepened through study and through the reception of the sacraments. 

Invite people (back) to the sacraments, and offer to go along with them. Accompany them to RCIA, begin a Bible study, or a spiritual book club, or pray with them.

If you helped open the door of faith to someone, don’t just leave them on the doorstep all alone. Help bring them in. 

Living out the Great Commission takes courage, especially in a culture that is hostile to the Truth, but you do not need to be afraid. Jesus Himself promises: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” He will give you the grace and the words you need.

Pietra Fitness