All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20, CSB)
What does Jesus’ command in the Great Commission (above), “make disciples of all nations,” mean for you and me? This is not a theological question but a practical one about obedience. Remember, Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15, CSB).
- Not Solo. Keep in mind that that Jesus gave the command to make disciples to disciples (plural, at least eleven according to verse 16). This is a together work. It cannot be accomplished alone–without each other or without Him (“I am with you always”).
- Not Just at Church. In the original language, “Go” in the Great Commission can best be translated “as you are going.” By itself, “go” is not a command. It was an assumption by Jesus that disciples would be going through life, and there is where disciple-making would happen. We cannot wait until we are at church to be making disciples.
- Time with Jesus. Jesus did not send out strangers but men who had been with Him. Jesus called them. They listened and followed. They watched and learned. Their relationship with Him prepared them to obey. He still does that today, and He chooses to speak through us as we are going. He is with us always.
- Our Subject Matter. It is from spending time with Jesus that the disciples (and we ourselves) received the content of our disciple-making: “teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” Likewise with our lives and our mouths, we are to teach others to obey–to love and live like Jesus. He is our subject matter.
Don’t be overwhelmed. You have an important part to play, but you don’t have to accomplish the entire work of disciple-making alone. He will help and has called others to join in the work as well. But don’t wait until you are at church.
Spend time with Jesus, and out of the overflow look for teachable moments along life’s paths to invest in others. And always keep your disciple-making focused on living like Jesus! Make disciples!