Living on Purpose Devotional - Week 1: Matthew 28:18-20
“ And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (ESV)
The mission of God is to bless and dwell with a people He has created, redeemed and restored for His glory. This mission is accomplished by God’s people making disciples. Over the next few weeks, we will look at the what, the how, and the result of disciple making. This week, we will be looking a little deeper at the Great Commission. Today, read the passage a few times, and meditate on it. Tomorrow we will look at a smaller piece.
While this is a faithful translation, the effect of coming from Greek to English makes it look like there are four commands, when in fact there is just one. Care to guess what the command is? Make disciples is the command, and the rest are a different form. The command is given to Jesus’ people, and linked to our lives as disciples ourselves. One cannot make disciples, unless one is a disciple. What does it mean to be a disciple? What evidence do you see in your life of being a disciple? How can you grow as a disciple?
The word “go” can have many different meanings for many different people. First it can actually be translated as, “going therefore…” So, going where? For some, this will mean going where they normally go: school, work, the store, daycare, PTA, and other places where they interact with folks who may not know the Lord. For some it will mean going into cross-cultural missions with the express purpose of evangelizing a different people group. For others it will mean their money will go. We often forget the unsung heroes of missions, the senders. The faithful financial supporters whose money shows where their heart is. Wherever the Lord has you being a goer, sender, or a mix of both, we must be faithful where called.
Baptizing and teaching is what we do while we are going about our paths the Lord has directed us to. Many times, people see the call to make disciples as fulfilled in the act of evangelizing the lost. However, Jesus has a different objective in mind. The making of disciples involves making well rounded and faithful disciples, not just people who have heard the Gospel. You see, after those who have responded to the Gospel call of evangelism, they must then be baptized, and then brought into the process that we call discipleship. There we fulfill the second part of this directive, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded. Therefore, our living on purpose must be committed to the task of discipleship as part of our evangelism.
This is a daunting task, no doubt. Making disciples is not something that we do because of our own feelings. No. We make disciples under the authority of Jesus. It is his command to do so, as it is God’s chosen means of filling the world with His glory as the waters cover the seas. Making disciples is not something that we do alone. Jesus goes with us. His Spirit goes before us, softens hearts, and changes hearts. The authority and presence of Jesus is what makes disciple-making possible and fruitful. Let us go about this in confidence that the Lord is with us!