When it comes to the Great Commission I often hear people say that only “make disciples” is commanded, that Jesus’ commission is simply to make disciples “as we go,” wherever we happen to be. They say there is no special command to “go,” the disciples are to make disciples of people they happen to encounter along the way.
A little bit of Greek is a dangerous thing.
Some context … “All” dominates and ties these verses together — all authority, all nations, all things, always. The humiliated and suffering Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) now exercises absolute authority over the whole universe.
Jesus now has universal authority, therefore his disciples have a universal mission to go and make disciples of all nations [we'll look at what "nations" means in a future post]. Because of Jesus’ universal authority they go in confidence. He is in control.
Now for a little bit of Greek. In the Greek “go”—like baptizing and teaching—is a participle which depends on the imperative “make disciples”.
It is true that the main emphasis of the Great Commission falls on “making disciples.” But grammatically, the participles—“going,” baptizing, teaching—all pick up the imperatival force of “make disciples”.
How are the disciples to make disciples of “all nations” without going to them?
The one command to make disciples of all nations is carried out by going, baptizing, and teaching to obey.
So we are to make disciples of all nations by going to them, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.