19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and make disciples of all the nations,
The command to reach “all the nations” is strikingly new here in that Jesus did not distinguish between Jew and Gentile. This change is a shift from ministry for the nation Israel to ministry for all peoples, Jew and Gentile alike.
It is important to understand that the command to “make disciples” governs the three functions (going, baptizing, and teaching). Each function elucidates what it means to make disciples. Making disciples covers the entire range of ministry, from initial presentation of the gospel to the maturation of believers.
After people “go,” they have two ministry functions: (1) baptizing and (2) teaching.
“Baptizing” is the second function that follows the command to “make disciples.” The idea is to “continually baptize them.” Baptism represents the initial step of obedience of faith.
in the name
This phrase is literally into the name. The idea of “into” implies two ideas: (1) an object or purpose and (2) union with. Baptism symbolically shows our positional union with Christ. Water baptism does not place a believer into union with Christ, but it is a symbol of the fact that the believer is already in union with Him.
The word “name” is singular, implying that the Trinity as a unit is one. Baptism identifies with God’s name (all that He represents).
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
We are to baptize in the name of the Trinity. For Jesus to be associated with the oneness of the Trinity shows His deity.
Our baptism proclaims our union with Christ.
Baptism does not save a person’s soul, but the Lord commanded it as essential proclamation of a person’s identity with Him. There is no rationale for not being baptized, for it is the important symbol of association with Christ. New believers should be baptized as soon as possible.
Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Acts 8:38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
Acts 9:18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Acts 18:8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.