As many of you know, I am in the process of writing my first book. I am currently reviewing and revising my chapters – which is requiring a great deal of time and concentration. For this reason, I will be applying my energies to this rewrite process. But, because so many of you have expressed your interest and enjoyment in my blog posts, I thought it might be best to offer portions of my book in future blog posts. So while I am working on the “finishing touches” you can be enjoying what I have been writing. May your hearts and minds be inspired and challenged…
From “The Great Missed Understanding” Chapter One: Understanding True Discipleship
“Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…””
Most Christians have heard of what is known as the Great Commission. It is found at the very end of Matthew’s inspired gospel and is the last recorded mandate of Jesus to His disciples. This mandate is their marching orders. It is what Jesus wants them to do, now that His time of earthly ministry is drawing to a close. It is what the Master considers most essential as the disciples journey on, in the days ahead, without the physical presence of their Master to lead the way. This Commission is the culmination of all their training. It is their graduation day. It is moving on from the role as learners and observers to the role of active participants in the Master’s work. They have been fully trained to do the work required of them because they have seen The Master do this work for more than three years. Now it is their turn. Now it is their Commission. It shall be their consuming passion for the rest of their days on the earth. It shall also be the focal point of all future disciples who follow after them. The Great Commission is the directive of all those who will come to be known as the true followers of Jesus.
So what is this Great Commission?
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Before addressing the depth of these words, we need to bring our focus to the most essential phrase of this commission. It is the simply stated, “Go and make disciples…” This is the bedrock activity of all Jesus’ disciples, then and now. It is the core of His command. It is the focal point of the Great Commission. The primary passion of disciples is to: “Go and make disciples…”
The first part of this phrase is an active and on-going obligation, “Go…” It is the Lord’s plan placed in motion. It involves an act of our wills to be intently involved in what the Lord commands. It speaks of a continual commitment to a journey, and of a purpose behind that journey. The original word used here, and translated, “go” literally means “as you are going.” In other words, this “going” is not just an aspect of your life; or merely an activity of your life; it is the consuming and continual focus of your life. It is why you are “going” in the first place. It is not just a momentary action that has a beginning and an end; it is your supreme motivation as you go about every moment of everything you do, throughout your lifetime. A disciple does not go and return, go again and return, repeatedly. A disciple is constantly and perpetually “going.” From the very moment of receiving this commission, the journey begins, and the “going” only ends when the disciple is no longer capable of going (i.e. When the disciple passes from this life!).
What does this tell us about a disciple’s commitment to the Great Commission? It tells us that the “making disciples” part is not just an activity set apart from our daily schedules. Making disciples is a disciple’s daily schedule. As we are going about our daily lives we are committed to the purpose of making disciples. In many ways, our church training has often led us to the conclusion that “making disciples” is an activity that we do at certain moments of our lives. We have “outreach” events. We have special evangelistic services. We have designated times to pass out tracts or canvas door-to-door, etc. There is nothing wrong with these activities, but they are just that – activities of our Christian lives. The proper understanding of Jesus’ Commission is that “making disciples” is the daily practice of our daily lives. The Great Commission is the centerpiece, the primary function, and one of the primary goals of how we go about living the Christian life. All that we say and do should be centered in, and a reflection of, our commitment to this purpose…
To be continued…