Jesus ate with publicans and sinners, and the Jews despised Him for this. The Jews were only attempting to do what they had learned from the laws and the prophets; that is, to remain separate from unbelievers to protect themselves from falling into sin.
An amazing thing happened when Jesus was crucified. The temple curtain split from top to bottom.
Up until this time, only the high priest, if properly prepared by bloody sacrifice, could come into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year. Like the temple curtain, the faith of Israel stood like a wall to keep foreigners out. The few gentiles who had faith in God were only allowed in the outer courts of the temple and at best, would be second-class believers.
Then, by the hand of God, the curtain ripped from top to bottom and God got loose. The way to God became open to people from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
Throughout its history, the church has often reverted back to this religion of self-protection. Members of the church family were welcome, but those who were foreign to the members were shut out.
This kind of exclusion is foreign to Jesus and to His disciples. Instead of hunkering down and focusing inward, we need to be reaching out as they did.
Before Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, He told His disciples what they were to do while in this world: (Matthew 28:18-20) “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority 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, to the end of the age.’”
Jesus took out His starter pistol, fired it into the air, and said, “go.” He has not yet said “stop.” He said “go,” and we must keep going.
This is called the Great Commission. It is our assignment. It is the great assignment for the church, and we are the church.
First, Jesus tells us to “go,” and then, He tells us what it is that enables us to “go.”
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore . . . ”
We “go” in the power and authority of the Lord God Almighty, Maker and King of the heavens and the earth.
Finally, Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This Great Commission is a great co-mission. We can and will do this because we aren’t left to do it alone in our own feeble strength.
If Jesus has commanded us to do this, then He wants us to do it, and if he wants us to do it, He will most certainly give us the power and authority to do it.