As we continue with our encounters with Jesus, this week we’ll look at one of the most important passages in the Bible for us as Christians. This passage in Matthew 28: 16-20 is often called the Great Commission:
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Today in our World in Front of the Text, we’ll look at that commission that is so great (see what I did there?) that Jesus gives to His disciples and to all of us. He tells them to go and to make disciples, to baptize them in the name of the Triune God, and teach them to obey everything that He commanded them to believe. I think today, this gives us two major points of emphasis. One for “us” and one for “them.”
First, we are told go and make disciples (of all the world), baptism them, and teach them of the Trinity. If we are to teach all the world to obey what Jesus teaches us, we have to do two things – first, make sure we know what He has taught us, and second make sure that we are obeying it. Ok, so what did He teach us. Well, there’s a lot there. Be faithful to Him. Pray. Give. Serve. Witness. So much. But when He was asked what the greatest command was He told us – love the Lord your God with all that you are and love your neighbor as you love yourself. In other words, give yourself completely to God. Love Him with everything you have, your mind, your soul, your physical resources. Everything. Give God your all in all. And then love your neighbor, value your neighbor in the same way that you value yourself.
Please, please, please don’t mistake the love that Jesus calls us to as simply some type of watered-down emotion. Jesus here is calling us to love God – withhold NOTHING from God and do whatever it is that He has called us. That is not emotion. That is devotion and sacrifice. The same for our neighbor. Jesus calls us to so much more than just emotion. He calls us to die to ourselves and live for God and neighbor. That’s so much more than just a saccharine emotion.
So, now, we must obey this teaching and teach others to as well. We teach them with our lives and actions, but we also teach them with our words. We tell others of what it is that God has done for us. We typically do pretty good with actions. But when was the last time you told someone of your story of God’s grace in your life? When was the last time you told someone of your conversion? When was the last time you told someone of the difference God is making your life, right now, at this moment?
One of the absolute best ways that we can help make disciples is to tell others with our actions and with our words of the difference that Jesus is making in our lives. Live your faith out loud and never be afraid to speak your faith out loud too.
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