The Great Commission

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 all that I have commanded you.  Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

 Today, Matthew 28 documents the life-giving story of Jesus’ resurrection.  He overcame death.  He lives!  Celebrate and worship.  As of this moment, every life has hope.  Our hope comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, now living within us.  Celebrate and worship.  I was just beginning to enjoy the resurrection when Matthew quickly shifts away, confronting me with the next leg of the journey.  Um, wait a minute.  I’m not ready.  Can we go back to the celebration?

Most Christians stop right here, at Jesus resurrection.  We celebrating and worship Jesus for the grace and mercy he gives, claiming eternity as our own.  Other than that, our lives remain unchanged.  We are, however, called to more.  Jesus calls us to become his disciples and make disciples.  What exactly is a disciple?  To describe us as followers is too simple.  Christian discipleship involves becoming like Jesus.  To be one requires our full submission that enables our full transformation to be like him.  Sadly, few Christians move off the celebratory mark set by the resurrection.

Need proof?  In a nationwide poll conducted by the Barna Group, 40% of the people surveyed said, “they were personally committed to Jesus Christ, had confessed their sins, and believed they will go to heaven after they die because of God’s grace provided through Jesus’ death and resurrection.”  That is significant.  However, when directed toward their response to that resurrection, “not one of the adults we interviewed said that their goal in life was to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ or to make disciples.”[i]  Wait, what?  Read that quote again.  It is worth digesting fully.

I am hoping that your engagement with implies that you have a goal for spiritual formation.  If that is true, great.  The challenge then becomes one of sharing.  You see, when we truly find Christ and our lives are transformed by his love, we will also be compelled to share him.  Therefore, making disciples is not hard.  It is the natural outpouring of Christ upon the world around us.  We will fully embrace the idea that “the local church is the hope of the world.”  When I think about it this way, Jesus’ command to reach the world, becomes not an impossibility, but a full reality.  A couple of years ago, Bill Hybels presented this vision with such clarity, that I want to share it with you today.  I hope you can find a few spare minutes to hear his message.

The morning prayer of every believer should be, “Jesus, this new day, I freshly commit myself to the role you have invited me to play as you are building your church in this world.” ~ Bill Hybels

[i] Barna, George (2013-03-06). Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ (Barna Reports) (p. 8). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.