Matthew 28:18-20 Then 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Great Commission is rightly enshrined in many churches, but I’m not sure we are capable of grasping the full depth and breadth of its implications. In one sense it “puts teeth to” the commission that Jesus gave those in the upper room immediately after His resurrection: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) Here He states that all authority has been given to Him, and then He delegates that authority to those who follow Him. Prior to this, it was the Roman Centurion who understood most clearly what Jesus’ authority meant, when he said that Jesus didn’t even have to be physically present to command healing for his servant. (Matthew 8:8-9) It was that authority, along with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, that enabled the disciples to be so utterly fearless and bold in front of the Sanhedrin, (Acts 4:5-12, 5:27-32) as well as empowering martyrs down through the ages. When we realize what it means that we can pray in Jesus’ name, for example, it changes just about every aspect of our lives. Most importantly, it should cause every believer to be dedicated to personal discipleship and to making more and more disciples for Christ, just as He tells us here. It is only as we submit ourselves to His authority that His authority operates through us to defeat the devil and draw people into His kingdom.
As a child of missionaries and a missionary myself, obviously this passage has been big for my whole life. However, there’s a world of difference between intellectual knowledge and daily, practical fulfillment. As has been stated in the Coaching seminars I’ve attended, the weakest part of the Church is making disciples, and I’m no exception. I have made more converts than disciples, and Jesus didn’t tell us to go make converts. I have been somewhat allergic to legalism, having seen the tremendous damage it can do, but in reaction I have failed to stress sufficiently the practical reality of being a disciple. God is indeed the God of grace and love, but we need to align ourselves with Him for that to flow through us properly. I think I’m continuing to grow, but I’ve got plenty of room for more growth! I’m not to be satisfied with converts, but keep pressing in for disciples, for God’s satisfaction and glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the person You’ve had on my heart for the past couple of days. I pray for Your timing and Your words to enable him to get past the lies of the enemy that have kept him from You, so that he may indeed be born again into Your family while he has opportunity, drawing his wife right along with him, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!