“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 everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
If you have spent more than a few months attending church and especially if you attended Sunday school as a child, you have heard and probably memorized the Great Commission. You might even remember childhood songs like “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ was born.” Obviously, this is a huge part of being a Christian. Telling others that Jesus was born, died for their sins, and resurrected is the Good News!
But does sharing only that message make us a disciple?
From recent studying, I think it does not. John MacArthur discusses what it means to make disciples. “There is certainly an evangelistic aspect to Christ’s command, but His instructions go beyond just spreading the gospel. The verb translated as “make disciples”—mathēteuō—is beautifully complex, carrying more meaning than simply accumulating converts. It communicates the idea of a learning believer—someone who is growing in his faith and his love for the Lord. Jesus’ words emphasize not the moment of salvation but the lifetime of sanctification that follows. He made the same point in John 8:31 when He said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” It’s the difference between a one-time profession of faith and a lifetime of spiritual growth and increasing godliness—between counterfeit and genuine conversion.”
Do you see the difference? We are not only to tell people about Jesus, we are called to help them become lovers of Jesus, true lifelong followers. Our goal is not to get a bunch of people to respond to an altar call and receive their ‘heaven ticket.’ Our desire needs to be that their hearts are devoted to Jesus – for their life to reflect Him! We are meant to spur each other on, push each other towards deeper intimacy with Christ.
Do not get overwhelmed by this. It is not your job to bring them to salvation! Only God can do that. But you can walk alongside of them and help them grow. You can teach them how to read the Bible and how to pray. You can show them what an intimate relationship with Jesus looks like. You can invite them to live a life of worship, praise, and thanksgiving. This, is making disciples. And once you make a disciple, who makes a disciple, then you are truly a disciple.
“The mission of God’s people is far too big to be left only to missionaries.”
-Christopher J. H. Wright
Lifegate Women, Associate Director
Spend time quiet before the Lord. Ask Him to reveal one person in your life that He wants you to invest in. One person that you can invite to tea. One person that you can share your life with and in turn you will lead them one step closer to becoming a real Jesus follower. Go and make disciples of all the nations! And by nations… I mean start with someone right next to you 🙂