Date of Award
Pablo Gadenz, S.T.D.
Gregory Glazov, D.Phil.
Evangelization, Persecution, Authority, Teaching, Mountain, Baptizing.
Scholars refer to the passage on Matthew 28:16-20 as the “Great Commission”. It concludes the last part of the Gospel of Matthew (26:1-28:20), that is, Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. In the Great Commission scene – on the mountain in Galilee (Matt 28:16), Jesus speaks to his disciples about his authority, commissions them to make disciples - by baptizing and teaching - and gives them an assurance of his abiding presence. This passage contains several themes – mountain, worship, authority and nations – which relate to the Gospel and other text in the Bible. It is pertinent to note here that the “commissioning” of the disciples by Jesus is not peculiar to Matthew per se; we also find elements of it in the other three Gospels (Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:36-49 and John 20:19-23).
There is no gainsaying the reality of the fact that evangelization is an important concept in the life and ministry of the church. Through her evangelizing mission, the church continues to break new grounds – making disciples of all nations. To buttress the need and importance of evangelization in the life and mission of the church, some popes have written encyclicals. Thus, in this study, I will pay specific attention to the writings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Francis regarding Matt 28:16-20.
Religious intolerance is the bane of the church in Northern Nigeria. Ipso facto, persecution has become a household name in the region. In recent times, the activities of the Islamic terrorist group “Boko Haram” and that of the “Fulani Herdsmen” have had serious negative effects on the life and ministry of the church – as places of worship and ministers of the Gospel are been incessantly attacked. There is also a blunt refusal to allocate or even sell lands to the church for religious purposes; especially in Muslim dominated areas. The church experiences these challenges in her mission of preaching and evangelization. The church, however, is relentless in keeping the faith alive – trusting in God’s abiding presence, on the inspiring basis of the Great Commission in Matt 28:20.
Sebastine, Vincent K., "The Great Commission: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Matt 28:16-20 in the Northern Nigeria Context" (2021). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2952.