Go, Make Disciples
By Benjamin H. Liles
"Meanwhile, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted. Then 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 all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:16-20, Berean Study).
I wonder as being part of the church of Christ do some of us understand what it means to "make disciples of all nations?" I think the better question actually is this: "How do you show your love for God?" If we look back at what Jesus says summarizes the Law and the words of the prophets, He says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39, Holman Christian Standard).
I imagine that when we love God more than anything else we would be like the widow who lost her coin, she is mentioned in Luke's gospel, chapter fifteen. But when Jesus gave this parable He's likening the widow to God and the coin as to what is lost. But the reason I put it the way I did was to show that sometimes we feel we lost God, so in that sense we're the ones who are widowed. And that's the thing of it we ought to love God so much we're willing to do as He commanded, "Go! Make disciples!" Again, how?
Jesus Christ says something, so I think here, rather remarkable: "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old" (Matthew 13:52, New American Standard). He's saying, in what I think would be modern words, "Check this out! Look at this cool stuff I have, man! This thing here, oh it was such a gift!" And he parades his belongings around. So, one who has been properly discipled not only treasures the things God has given and done for him, he talks about it, he shares what he has.
Consequently, when Peter was doing exactly what Jesus commanded when the church started, shortly after Christ's death and resurrection, we read of Peter helping a lame man, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!" Surely enough when Peter takes the guy by the right hand, helping this guy up, the guy's feet and ankles strengthened. This man jumped to his feet and started walking. I imagine he was strutting around as if he just got himself a new car or something. He went into the temple courts. however, walking, leaping and praising God. So of course everyone who saw this man walking and praising God for being able to walk they were filled with wonder, and amazement what happened to him (see Acts 3:6-10, Berean Study).
If we base what Jesus told the disciples in making disciples of all men from all nations, He's telling them to extend the grace, the mercy, the favor God has bestowed upon them to others. So, for those of us, like myself, who have seen God's grace we're to be like wise stewards dispersing what we've been given, watching it grow, making it grow in others, nurturing, developing and cultivating these things within others for the glory of God.
...Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
The gospel message of Jesus Christ stands out in my mind is the singular greatest act in history because, and I say this in candor here, God came down in human form--in the person of Jesus Christ, to suffer on our behalf, to be persecuted, to be hated, to put sin and death on public display. While on the cross Jesus Christ never opened His mouth against those who accused him. If anything Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). There is power in His name, in the name of Jesus because of the fact He rose from the grave. So, likewise, when we are properly discipled and able to make the choice to be His servant to others, we are able to do so.
Teaching them to observe all things I commanded you
To conclude this then we should constantly be aware of what Jesus said constitutes the basis of our walk in Him--loving God, firstly; consequently the second flows from the first, extending the commission of "making disciples of all nations" is our outward expression of loving others, which would fulfill the words of the Laws and the prophets. Jesus didn't just practice what He preached, He lived it daily. Some people believed Him, others rejected Him. Some followed safely at a distance, others went walking with Him, learning things directly from Him. What camp do you want to fall in?
In my walk, so far, I feel and believe I show God's love to others. At least I think I do. What matters is what God thinks at the end. Joshua, Moses' assistant and the second leader of Israel said this, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15, New King James). For my household as well as for myself we will serve Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel message as He laid out for us. I pray this blesses and encourages you today. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.