16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Over To You
Make disciples. Baptize. Teach. That’s the command that Jesus left the disciples with. The first statement encompasses the other. Firstly, then, if you are going to pick up the baton that has been handed to you, get an education. The first law of teaching, according to Milton Gregory, is that the teacher knows the content to be taught. So do you know the content? You don’t have to consider yourself a teacher, but you are called to be one. You can teach children, friends and family by your actions. However, do you know what is important? The curriculum is a person, it is Jesus. Is Jesus your friend? Do you know him? To know someone is to know about them and to act on that. Would you say that you understand the gospel in that way? The gospel is not about getting out of hell. The gospel is not about getting to some magical place called heaven. The gospel is about losing yourself in a relationship. Being lost in that relationship is heaven. The kingdom of heaven comes within us and we teach it as we experience it.
To baptize is to immerse. As far as I understand it, the word immersion wasn’t used because it would upset the state church in England who were given to sprinkling people with water. The image of baptism is that one is plunged into death and then raised into a new life. All their sins are washed away and they are free. Baptism is a symbol of an inner change. It is also an outward sign of commitment to Jesus. If the inner change has occured you need to be immersed in order to show others that you have embraced a new life in Jesus. Following that, the command of Jesus is to go and tell others that they need this internal change and external show of allegiance.
How does one learn about Jesus? One reads the Bible, prays and talks with others who are following him. Reading the Bible can be done once or twice without a teacher and a superficial understanding will take place. After that, getting a mentor who is further along the road is definitely recommended. Look to someone who is reading the Bible regularly and whose life emulates someone who is in relationship with the Bible’s author. Find teachers in the church who can discern the truth and apply it to life. Finally find someone who is of the same gender and who has gone through mid-life to be a challenge to you. Someone who accepts you unconditionally whom you will allow to tell you some home truths. It takes courage and growth to be able to take criticism, but it is a huge aspect of growth.
With the above things in place, you will live out the Great Commission and you will naturally make disciples as you talk about the life-changes that God is working in you.
- What things did Jesus command his disciples?
- Do you accept Jesus is saying these things to you?
- How do you need to grow as a teacher?
- Who can you encourage to be baptized?
- How can you arrange your life around Jesus more?