“Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach the new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.”
Matthew records, in his account of Jesus’ last days, what is probably the most famous of Jesus’ last words to His disciples. Yet the most exciting thing from this passage is that it includes us too. We too are also commissioned to go into the world and make disciples for Christ. Yet so often we reserve this particular passage for ‘missionaries’ who are being sent across the world to serve in gospel-deprived nations. The NLT translation of this text is so inclusive. It doesn’t say go to the nations and make disciples, rather it says make disciples of all nations. This is a more inclusive translation and when we think about it, in actual fact we can be God’s witnesses wherever we are. The rich man in our workplace who thinks he has life sorted because of his growing wealth and status on this earth needs someone to show him Christ’s love as much as the deprived, malnourished child in the war zone of Sudan.
So what message do we bring to the nations? How do we make new disciples for Christ? Well, according to Jesus’ words, it is by teaching them to obey God’s commands; the summary Jesus gave of all the commandments were these: “Love the Lord your God above all else” and “love your neighbour as yourself“. If we follow and teach others these commandments, then surely people will come to know Jesus’ love through our lifestyle and witness of Him. In actual fact Jesus has commissioned us all to do this. Whether that is through the way we live our lives in replicating Jesus’ commands or whether we actually verbally teach it to others, we are all called to be witnesses of Christ’s commandments to the world.
Yet the key to this passage is not ‘living’ and ‘doing’ in our own strength and authority but in rather in the authority given to us through Jesus Christ, the risen and resurrected King. Because He lives, we too can access authority in His Name as the sons and daughters of His Kingdom. Jesus is now and forever with us “even until the end of the ages”. All we need to do is draw on His strength, be His witnesses to All Nations, and show them Christ’s love through word and deed.
Go into the world and make disciples for Him!!