36 • Go and Make Disciples
Jesus said many things to His disciples before He went to heaven. One of His last commands should be His children’s supreme concern and ambition. Jesus said, about 2000 years ago: ‘Go therefore and make disciples (spiritually mature Christians) of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all the things that I have commanded you; for I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:18-20). This command is meant for all His followers—not only for His disciples two thousand years ago. In a sense it is impossible for Christians to make even one disciple. We all know that Christians struggle to overcome sin and everyday problems. In our own strength it is impossible to be a disciple, let alone to make disciples.
This is why God assures us that He will be with us to the end of the age. His presence, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ; Romans 8:8), will help us in this wonderful task. We need Him (Psalm 63:1-3; Psalm 84:1-5) and we need to remember that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Because of His authority and supreme power, the task of making disciples is certain. With God’s manual (The Bible), with His Spirit within us (Ephesians 1:19, 20), with the grace of Jesus Christ enabling us (2 Corinthians 13:14), we are sure to succeed in God’s enterprise. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18: ‘On this rock (Christ) I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ All the powers of sin, wickedness and hell cannot overcome Jesus’ power. Christians cannot be destroyed because Jesus overcame death (1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 20-22).
His marvelous aim and purpose is to see people from all ethnic groups (currently there are about 12000 of them) come into His kingdom to worship Him (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). The goal of making disciples of Jesus is to enable them to worship and delight in God for eternity (Revelation 5:9-13). Teaching people to be obedient to Him is a temporary project on earth. To go and share and live God’s words can be compared to an army going for battle against enemy forces. There will be casualties and assaults on God’s kingdom, and we need weapons to fight with. The difference is that our weapons are not physical weapons but spiritual weapons, mighty through God to pull down strongholds and to go behind enemy lines (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The great thing to remember is that the decisive battle has been won through the finished work of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
Christians, as God’s soldiers, are to proclaim His victory so that God will receive the rewards of His suffering from all ethnic groups. One day this opportunity to go into all the world and be on mission for Jesus will be gone. What vision and divine ambition drive you? Are you energized to do great exploits for God’s glorious Kingdom (Daniel 12:2, 3)? There will be no end of the increase of God’s government and peace (Isaiah 9:6)! In Mark 8:38 Jesus said: ‘For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this sinful and adulterous generation, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels’. To make disciples of all nations is therefore not an option for believers but a glorious responsibility and a privilege.
Scripture to consider: In Revelation 5:9 God gives us a picture of eternity: ‘And they sang a new song saying, “You (Christ) are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of EVERY TRIBE AND TONGUE AND PEOPLE AND ETHNIC GROUP, and made us kings and priests to our God.”’
Read: Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 8:8; Psalm 63:1-3; Psalm 84:1-5; Ephesians 1:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 20-22; Revelation 5:9; 7:9; Revelation 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57;
Daniel 12:2,3; Isaiah 9:6; Mark 8:38.