Becoming a Disciple Who Makes Disciples
Three ways you can share Jesus
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...
Final instructions are important. In the military, soldiers are supposed to act based on the last orders they receive. People speaking from their deathbed speak of matters that are truly important. Jesus also emphasized some of His teachings by putting them last. After God raised him from the dead, He spent forty days with his disciples. As that period drew to a close, He gave final instructions.
Who are these instructions for?
William Carey is considered by many to be the father of the modern missionary movement. He said of this passage (Matthew 28:19-20) that “the promise is coextensive with the command.” By that he meant that if we believe Jesus’ promise “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b) is applicable to every follower of Christ, that Jesus’ command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a) was also applicable to every follower of Christ.
What does it mean to make disciples?
The main command in this passage is to make disciples. There are many ways to describe how this is to be done:
First, we are to go do this under and by Jesus’ authority. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18-19a) He also told them how to do it: “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19b-20a)
The baptism can happen immediately, but note that “teaching them to observe” (or obey) all that Jesus commanded requires an ongoing process. It does not merely require head knowledge, but heart-obedience to Jesus. That means there needs to be an ongoing pattern of accountability for living out what we are learning and for passing it on to others. If we do not establish such patterns for ourselves and those we are discipling then we are failing to follow this central instruction of Jesus.
Note too, that collectively, we are to make sure that this happens in every “nation” (or people group) in the world. That means we have a responsibility not only among our own acquaintances where we live, but in every place and people group on earth. In other words, Jesus is calling us to be engaged with His Kingdom around the world.
How can I grow in my ability to make disciples?
When we think of this global enterprise, many people think of the Apostle Paul, considered by many to be the first Christian missionary. We can see his approach described in his first letter to Timothy, one of the disciples Paul made: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) In other words, we need to be concerned with growth in knowing and living out God’s instructions for ourselves, for disciples we are making, for the disciples they are making, and even for the generations that will follow.
This may seem to be a difficult challenge, which is why Jesus’ authority (Matthew 28:18) and presence with us (Matthew 28:20) are so important. Besides having the Holy Spirit, it is also God’s design for us to be learning from others and instructing others. We are all meant to be followers and leaders as we relate to one another in the body of Christ. Two great ways to get input for growing in this area to connect with us via the button below or to go through the free online training at zumeproject.com.
Pray this week:
Lord, let me learn to follow You more closely day by day, and bring others with me on this spiritual journey. I want to demonstrate my love and gratitude for the amazing gift of salvation which You have given me, and to help others know and love you in the same way.
Who can you learn from and who can be learning from you as you grow in living out your faith and passing it on to others?