“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.” These are Jesus’ final words before he ascended to heaven. They are known as the “Great Commission.” It is the summary of the church mission.
Making disciples was not optional for Jesus. He didn’t suggest that we spread the good news of the Gospel. He commanded. He clearly said, “This is your job. Go do it!”
At this point I could spend the next 10 or 15 minutes talking about fulfilling the Great Commission. But I don’t think that will help. The problem is that people don’t know how to spread the Good News.
People compare fulfilling the great commission with the Bible really evangelism that has turned so many away from the Gospel. Or maybe they don’t realize the power they have been given to fulfill the commission. They think, “I can’t do anything. I’m not Jesus.”
I know I’m not Jesus. But I don’t have to be! Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me. Go therefore...” We do not go out to make disciples based on our own abilities or authority. We go forth with the authority of Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords. The Bible says that out of the mouths of babes God prefects praise. Like babes - it is God’s power not our ability that makes us effective.
Right before the commission to make disciples, Jesus gives authority, then he says, “I am with you always to the end of the age.” So, he does not send us out alone. He sent the Holy Spirit to be the presence of God to go with us.
I remember helping the youth at my husband church. One time the youth were leading the service. They said they wanted to do the whole service themselves. They didn’t want any adults in the pulpit that Sunday. Before the service, I had a prayer with them and I said, “You know you won’t be up there all by yourselves.”
They all got this “Aw, but Miss” look on their faces and then I said, “Jesus will be with you.” If Olympia Tukutau had to get up here each Sunday by herself, we would all be in trouble. I couldn’t do it. The only reason I could ever get in front of a group and preach is because I know Jesus is with me until the end of the age.
The Bible said that with a word - God created the heaven and the earth. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is one with the Father and was there participating in the creation of the universe. So, the same power that created the stars is with us as we practice the great commission.
When we tell people that “Christ is the light” of the world - the same power that said, “Let there be light” is with us. When we tell people that “God is Love,” the same one who died and rose for our salvation is with us. That is the authority we have been given to make disciples.
But how do we do it? Do we have to preach on the street corner? If God calls us to go preach on the street corner, then we should. But even if we do we shouldn’t let that keep us from witnessing to our neighbors and family.
Doing the “religious” thing, preaching in the street corner, is not a replacement for doing the faithful thing, witnessing to our children and neighbors. If we are not loving our family and neighbors - then the reality of our preaching in the street corner will be called into question.
We also need to learn to witness. We need to practice telling people what God has done in our lives. One way of preparing is by memorizing scripture; especially verses that have meant a lot to you. Another way is to pray for guidance on how to witness. Finally, we need to be awake and look for opportunities to share that witness.
The witness of our lives is also very important too. Words are important but they are empty if they are not words that come out of the way we live our lives. It has been said that actions speak more loudly than words. And that is true: we need to walk the walk to talk the talk.
Jesus said, “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.” It is the great commission in our lives! Do we seek to make disciples for Jesus Christ? Or do we act as if making disciples is optional?
Jesus commanded that we make disciples. You don’t need to be a Jesus Christ or a pastor to do it. The same power that spoke the heavens into existence is with you.
Go, therefore, with the power of God and the Love of Christ. Go and show people in your lives the goodness and greatness of God. Tell them with your lips of the way God has taken care of you. And know that he is with you until the end of the age. Shalom and Amen!
Scriptures: Matthew 28:16-20, Genesis 1:1-2:4a