White Wing Messenger|May 2020
This commission was grounded in the fact that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18 NIV). With that absolute authority, He charged them to “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” (v. 19). Then, He gave a word of assurance: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (v. 20). We might say this was the disciples’ graduation day. Now, it was their turn to pass on to others what they had learned from Jesus. Their teacher was going to the Father, but they had been well taught and trained. Jesus trusted their ability to make disciples. They were commanded not to stay in their comfort zone, but to intentionally go.
Disciple making requires a proactive mentality. We must act. Jesus’ first disciple making action was to choose His disciples. Mark tells us that, “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people. At once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:16–18 NIV). The same thing happened with James and John, sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus called. They not only left their nets and their boat (their livelihood), but their father (family) also, and followed Jesus (vv. 19, 20). Then, in Mark 3:16–19, we find the complete list of the twelve that He chose. The disciples were chosen that they might be with Him (relationship) and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons (equip and release).
There is significance in the grammar of the Great Commission. “The participles going, baptizing, and teaching are all subordinate to the action of the main verb in this passage: the command to disciple or make disciples.”1Some meanings of the verb ‘make’ include; to begin or seem to begin (an action); to cause to happen to or be experienced by someone; to cause to exist, occur, or appear; to favor the growth or occurrence of; to fit, intend, or destine by or as if by creating; to bring into being by forming, shaping, or altering material, etc.2 When we apply these meanings to making disciples, we see the intentionality involved in this process. In other words, making a disciple is not something that will happen randomly. Discipleship is a process of two people cooperating with God where one willingly invests in the other’s life to transform them both. “Discipleship is a logical socialization process involving time, exposure, sensitivity to readiness, and the modeling of truth. We become like the people with whom we associate. The pupil becomes like his teacher”
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