The Great Commission of Christianity is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing ministry, missionary work, evangelism, and baptism. The Apostles are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and founded the Apostolic Sees. Among Christian eschatological views, Preterists believe that the Great Commission and other Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the first century while Futurists believe Bible prophecy will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ.
The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:16–20, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Only Matthew records an earlier lesser commission, only for the Twelve Apostles, in 10:1–42, and directed only to the children of Israel, undertaken during Jesus' mortal life, which is similar but different from the episode of the Commissioning the Twelve Apostles found in the other Synoptic Gospels. In Luke, Jesus says that all people will be called to repentance and tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they become invested with power, which presumably happened at Pentecost in the Book of Acts. Luke also has Jesus dispatching disciples during his ministry, sending them to all the nations and giving them power over demons, including the Seventy disciples. In John, Jesus promises to bestow the Paraclete on the disciples, which perhaps is what happens in
John 20:21–23. The Great Commission in the traditional ending of Mark is thought to be a second-century summary based on Matthew and Luke.
Some students of the historical Jesus, who do not believe the Scriptures are infallible or God's very words, as held by what may be called conservative evangelicalism, generally discount the Great Commission as reflecting not Jesus' words but rather the Christian community in which each gospel was written. (See Sayings of Jesus.) Some scholars, such as John Dominic Crossan, assert that Jesus did commission apostles during his lifetime, as reported in the Gospels. Other scholars, however,[who?] see even these lesser commissions to represent Christian invention rather than history.