“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” -Matthew 28:18-20
All Authority in Heaven and on Earth
Jesus has power over all of Heaven and all of Earth. The prophet Daniel saw a vision that illustrates Christ authority very well:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man [Jesus the Son], coming with the clouds of Heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days [God the Father] and was led into His presence. He [Jesus] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His [Jesus’] dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. -Daniel 7:13-14
I’ll just point out a few things. The Father has given Jesus all authority over Heaven and Earth. That means that what Jesus says, goes. That means we should listen to and obey Him, especially when He gives us a direct command. That means Jesus is worthy of our worship and the worship of all peoples, tribes, and nations in the world. That means making disciples is all about Jesus and not about us. That means God’s glory is at the heart of it all (Philippians 2:9-11).
Go and Make Disciples of All Nations
Jesus’ statement of His authority is followed by a direct command, which He gives to all believers. He is not speaking only to pastors, missionaries, and other “professional Christians.” He’s speaking to you and to me and all Christians. What does he tell us to do? Make disciples. What is a disciple? A follower.
He wants us to go wherever people aren’t following Him in the world around us and help them to start following Him. It’s really that simple. And while there are plenty of people right here in America who don’t follow Jesus, He specifically tells us to make disciples of all nations (I expand on that idea here: http://www.reachingcampus.com/gods-heart-for-all-peoples/)
Baptizing Them and Teaching Them to Obey
So how do we make disciples? Of course first we need to be following Jesus. Then we simply enter into the lives of those who don’t know Jesus and we show, tell, and teach them how to follow Him. We show them how following Jesus is the most important thing about us and how our faith in Christ impacts every part of our life. We tell them what the Bible says about sin and salvation and what Jesus has done in our lives. Then, we teach them how to obey Jesus by modeling the life of Christ and walking them through it, both before and after they become a believer.
Teaching is about training; it’s more like making them your apprentice than your student. When they “make a decision” to start following Jesus we baptize them as a public commitment and a symbol of their new life. Then you keep walking alongside them, continuing to teach them obey Jesus’ command to make disciples just as you are doing.
Surely I Am With You Always
This is a key part of Jesus’ command, and we can’t forget it. He reminds us that we can never make disciples or baptize them or teach them to obey without God’s power working in and through us. If we try to do it on our own we will be frustrated, burnt out, and unsuccessful in the long run. That’s why prayer is so vital, as is partnering with other believers (Jesus sent his disciples out two by two in Luke 10:1). That’s why we must read and rely on God’s Word every day.
So what are we waiting for? Stop letting your faith focus only on YOU. Jesus has power and authority over all of creation. He is worthy to be worshiped by your lost friends and the unreached peoples around the world. Let’s start obeying His command and making disciples!
John Allert10 years ago
Well said. Amen. I like how you said, we go to those who aren’t following Him (not those who already do) and help them to start following him and I might add, ultimately so they make new followers among all peoples! The point is reproducing new disciples, the scope is the planet, and we teach them to obey Jesus. So simple to say, but so hard (or rare) to do. Why do you think that is? Thanks for the post!