This Scripture in Matthew is referred to as The Great Commission. This is one of the main commissions that every Christian believer is called to perform. It is our job, our task, and our duty to go and make disciples of all nations. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons take this command by Jesus more seriously than most Christian believers. This shouldn't be so!
The phrase "make disciples" in Matthew 28 means:
to help someone to progressively learn the Word of God,
to become a matured disciple (literally, "a learner," a true Christ-follower);
to train (develop) in the truths of Scripture and the lifestyle required,
a believer learning to be a disciple of Christ in belief and practice.
Being a disciple of Jesus isn't easy, but it is worth it.
Notice that Jesus didn't say, "Go therefore and make converts of all nations..." Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." Also notice we are not only supposed to make disciples IN nations, we are supposed to make disciples OF nations!
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We aren't supposed to make converts, we are supposed to make disciples.
A conversion is necessary, it is the first step to become a disciple of Jesus, but it is only the beginning of becoming a disciple. Jesus doesn't want us to make confessing Christians. Jesus wants us to make confessing Christians that walk and talk like He did!
We don't want to be the people Jesus spoke of in Matthew 15, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me." We want to be people that are known for our love (John 13:34-35).
The phrase, "Go therefore and make disciples" holds even more meaning than we have already looked at. This phrase is in the Greek aorist imperative. That means this phrase commands mandatory action to be completely done or checked off. It focuses on the first or most immediate task to be done if a series of tasks is needed. It orders action that must be done decisively and immediately.
For example, when I prepare for a long road trip there is a small checklist of items I look at it and complete before I start driving. I don't just jump in the car and start driving across the country. I check the oil. I check the gas gauge. I check the brake fluid, coolant, and other fluid levels. I check the tire pressure. I check the GPS to see what routes will be the best to take. I make sure I have water and snacks. I check my trunk to see if I need to bring any random tools in case of an emergency. I make sure we have a phone charger. I think you get the idea!
If I were to jump in the car and start driving right away I may not make it all the way across the country. There are some things I need to get done right away and check off my list and complete. These things have to get done or else my trip could be cut short.
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According to Jesus going and making disciples is supposed to be the first priority on all of our checklists!
We are to decisively and completely get it done. We are to "just do it" each time the need arises! This calls for decisive and often urgent action on our part. This is what Jesus has called us to do, to go and make disciples.
Today I want to encourage you to go and start making disciples. Check it off, get it done! Focus on the first opportunity to complete it!
If you want a little more in-depth view of what it means to be a disciple then click this link and check out this blog about the specialty teaching that Jesus wants all of His disciples to follow.
The time is now, shake the earth!