The Last Words of Jesus before the Ascension

The last recorded words of Jesus before His ascension is often referred to as The Great Commission.

His last words given face to face to His Church are serious

Jesus is already risen, and already taught the disciples for 40 days.  Now it is time to leave.  His last words are important.  This is it, He will no longer talk to them face to face.  He will no longer look them in the eye and teach them.

He will not use these last few minutes on something trivial.  Instead these last few minutes are reserved to impress upon them one last time what is to be the most important work that they are to do.

The verses recording what Jesus told them is not given to us all together in one book.  His last words are recorded in Acts, and Mark, and Matthew.  There is no conflict here.  The writer of Acts just recorded a few sentences of what Jesus said and Mark recorded a few different sentences and the same with Matthew.  Jesus said every single verse just as the writer recorded.

Understanding that He said all of them most likely in one last speech, you get the feeling that Jesus is really hammering this truth home.  Any good teacher will use repetition in teaching.  And will tackle a subject from different angles and will restate the same truth in slightly different ways.  It is a way to get people to think and to remember and learn.  And Jesus is the best teacher there is.

So it is not surprising that He does that with His last lesson given face to face with His disciples.  And have it recorded for His disciples that would live thru the ages.

His last words recorded in Acts

  • Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
  • Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

All countries, all people everywhere.  And you will be empowered by God in this effort.  One of the main jobs of God the Spirit is to empower the witnessing of Jesus by His children.  And notice the Holy Spirit empowers the witness about Jesus.  The Holy Spirit does not witness about Himself, He witnesses about Jesus!  Our job is to tell and it is God’s job to bring conviction, to open eyes, and to speak to the hearts of men.

And this is to be done in Jerusalem (their home town), and in all Judaea (Their country), and in Samaria (The country next door), and to the uttermost part of the earth.   And it is not when you get Jerusalem finished then move on.  Instead it is do them all at the same time.  God loves all people the same, He wants His saving word to be given to all.

His last words recorded in Mark

  • Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
  • Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
  • Mar 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

The all people, everywhere, is reinforced and then the why added.  Those that believe are saved and those who believe not shall be damned.  This is serious business with eternal consequences.  And the action of Go is emphasized.  Going takes work.  It takes sacrifice, and it costs money.  It is not easy.  Jesus is not ashamed to ask His children to do hard things.  Jesus is actually commanding His own to go.  To get to work.  To be busy about this.  Jesus is not asking here.  He is giving a command.  He has every right to command this.

His last words recorded in Matthew

  • Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
  • Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
  • Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The action of going to all nations, and to everyone is reinforced again.  This time encouragement is given that He has all power and is with us.

He has already said that we are to be witnesses of Him and the importance.  Those who believe are saved and those who believe not are damned.  Salvation comes before baptism, so we know that the teach all nations in verse 19 is a reinforcement of telling people how to be saved.  After salvation they are to baptize new believers.   Baptizing someone before salvation is not biblical.

And an additional instruction is given in verse 20.  Teach them to observe all things that Jesus commanded after they are saved.  Teaching the entire Bible is a good thing.  But notice Jesus highlighted teaching newly baptized believers all things that He has commanded His children to do.  So new disciple type teaching should concentrate more on what Jesus said to do.

Putting it all together 


The when is now.  Today.


That is action.  Do.  Get busy.  This covers the When.  Get started now.


To all nations near and far.  So all Christians need to be involved in some missionary efforts.


To everyone.  Many churches use what is called relationship evangelism.  Basically only people you know.  That is in direct disobedience to the command of Jesus.  And not just people that live in houses.  But also apartments and mobile home parks.   Everyone regardless of where they live or what they look like.  And spend the money it takes to get people the Gospel.


The Gospel.  Not just a church invitation.  Give them information.  Give them reasons to believe.  Give them the plan of salvation.  Teach them what they need to know so they can make an informed decision to get saved.  Put out good material.

With Whom and How

With Jesus and in His power.  The Holy Spirit must open eyes and bring conviction and He must testify of righteousness and judgment to come.  We need to do the Great Commission in prayer and in dependence upon Him.

When, Where, Who, What, and With Whom

In His last words Jesus covered the when, where, who, what, and with Whom and how of what His children are to be doing while He is gone.

Church of Grace takes the Lord’s last words before His ascension very seriously.  Our finances, how we spend our money reflects this.  The type of material we put out reflects this.  How much we spend on stamps reflects this.  The types of missionary efforts we support reflects this.

Yes we know that Jesus wants us to do all His will.  And that includes helping the poor and the fatherless and we are to be zealous of all good works.  We are to be balanced.  But the work given to us to do in His last words are to be the main priority.

This should be a part of the life of every Christian. 

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