Eyewitness pp 261,262
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Acts 9:19b,20 NIV
In your Bible: Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 9:19b,20
The Eleven, the women, and believers went to the mountain as the resurrected Jesus instructed them. There Jesus gave them direction and authority after his ascension. Earlier they were shocked, grieving, and in despair. Now they were overjoyed to see Jesus again. But he knew he must prepare them for the tasks that would impact mankind for generations.
Jesus told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).
It’s important to know that the Father gave Jesus all authority—including authority over the evil one. When Jesus says “Go” with his authority, he conveys authority to the believer to do his will and the tasks he gives. The Eleven and other believers reached out to the Jewish nation.
Later, Saul of Tarsus, would meet the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. After spending several days with disciples there, Paul would follow Jesus’ command teaching Gentiles that Jesus was the Son of God (See Acts 9:19b-20). What an amazing turn-around for this persecutor of believers! Saul now named the Apostle Paul ministered in primarily Asia Minor.
The disciples knew what Jesus meant when he said disperse or GO and they also knew what he meant when he said make disciples. However, sadly today we often we interpret this to mean “go and tell” – that’s far from disciple making.
Disciple making takes time and concerted effort teaching what Scripture means (even if it’s just what it means to you), and relating Bible stories. It’s a process that may take years, not one sermon or a weekend.
A disciple is best interpreted as “student.” Jesus chose the Twelve. Hundreds more were followers and some were disciples also. This took over three years. Then each Apostle (the Twelve), made disciples themselves. This process took centuries until now – you and I can be disciples. Yes, Jesus said, “I am with you always . . .”
Prayer: Father, I get it. I believe you and I will be part of the process to lead and teach others all about you. You are truly amazing, patient and abundant in lovingkindness.
Questions: What do you understand about Jesus having all authority? What is the difference between hearing the Gospel and becoming a disciple?