Whole Life Whole Bible Day 38
Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
37: The great project
With a world-changing chapter, Matthew rounds off his Gospel. Jesus bursts from death to life, and the disciples are commissioned to turn the world upside down.
In a sense, this was a briefing for the work that was to follow the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which empowered the church for its mission. It was a briefing that told them what their mission was to be, but it also tells us what our mission is to be. The all-important directive — to ‘make disciples’ — is sandwiched between the affirmation of Jesus’ authority and the promise of his presence. Entitled and enabled by his authority (v. 18), and supported and strengthened by his presence (v. 20), his people are sent into the world.
Indeed, it is to the whole world that they are sent — to all nations, not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles — reminding us once again of the global dimension of the biblical story, from the creation of the world in Genesis to the promise in Revelation that all nations will walk in the light of the Lamb of God.
Interestingly, ‘make disciples’ is the main command in these verses. Of course, the ‘making disciples’ assumes a ‘going’, but all of us go in this sense, whatever we are doing. We go about our everyday life with new values and a new sense of purpose; we follow the Lord’s call to the ends of the earth; we make disciples. And integral to the process of making disciples is both baptising them (as a way of enabling them to say who they belong to — God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and teaching them everything Jesus has commanded: to be not just hearers or learners, but doers of his word.
Jesus commissioned his disciples, and he commissions all Christians ever since, to make disciples — people who submit to the authority of the master, people who not only understand the teaching of the master but also obey it, people who are committed to living the way the master calls them to live in all areas of their lives. ‘Disciples making other disciples’ is at the heart of the church’s mission. It’s a commission that puts disciple-making as the main agenda and top priority of every Christian, of every church.
This, then, is our mission — to be whole-life disciples who make whole-life disciples.
Will we embrace it?
For further reflection and action
I need to do a health check on my own life. Am I truly a whole-life disciple or are there areas of my life that I am reluctant to surrender to Christ’s Lordship?
As we make big plans for the future — for example, changing jobs or moving house — how, if at all, should the ‘great commission’ influence our decisions?
Are there Christian friends or members of your church whom you might more intentionally seek to disciple? If you feel that you need someone to mentor you, can you identify someone you might approach? What is it that makes them ‘fit for purpose’?
Visit LICC to find out more or get an overview of the Biblical narrative and the ways it can shape us by reading the Introduction to Whole Life, Whole Bible from the Whole Life, Whole Bible book.