Matthew 28 is the first of three accounts of what is commonly called “The Great Commission.” The Great Commission contains some of the last words ever spoken by Jesus on earth.
Not to put a premium on anything Jesus said over another, but as humans, we understand that last words are vitally important in the minds of those who speak them. Given one last chance to impart information, all peripheral matters are ignored and the mundane vanishes.
It is called the Great Commission for several reasons. Primarily, I think the first is its scope. Here, Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to every person on earth. This is in contrast to “the Limited Commission” of Matthew 10, wherein the apostles (and later the 70, cf Luke 9:1-6, 10:1) were commanded to preach only to the Jews and forbidden to preach to the Gentiles.
Second, I think it proper to think of the Great Commission in terms of its magnitude. While this commission has remained in force since the time it was given, there are now more than 7 billion people on the planet. Every single person in this great mass of humanity represents soul. Every single soul is worth more than the whole world (Matt 16:26).
Christians must certainly live and make their way in this world. We must work with our hands to provide for our families, the work of the church, and those in need. We must spend time in worship and personal spiritual development. These are things of absolute necessity. e
However, we cannot become so entangled in the peripheral affairs of this life so as to lose our focus on the great task that lies before us. The church alone has the responsibility of preaching the gospel to every person. The task cannot be carried out by religionists who refuse to preach even the most basic and fundamental truths of the message (e.g., the baptism of Jesus for the remission of sins).
The early church accomplished this task in less than forty years (Col 1:5-6, 23) because they went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4). The manifold wisdom of God is made known to the world by the church (Eph 3:9-11).
This is God’s plan. There is no Plan B.