Eleven men trekked up the mountain to meet their Teacher. For three years, they had devoted themselves in discipleship to the Son of God. Now, after witnessing the miracle of His death (Matthew 27) and resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10),
they were about to receive a life-changing assignment.
They were slightly out of breath when they reached the top of a familiar ledge and saw Him, Jesus, their Friend and Savior. Their hearts overflowed with worship, but some also doubted. The road they’d traveled had been long, full of miracles and mystery. Suddenly, each man fell silent as Jesus spoke.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
These instructions, often called The Great Commission, would direct every day of the rest of their lives. As they shared the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, more people knew God’s love and understood His powerful forgiveness and salvation. These new believers also received the same commissioning call to share this gospel message. The new disciples would then make more disciples, spreading the message far and wide, to the ends of the earth, generation after generation.
They were given a mission. Though we didn’t walk the dusty roads of ancient Israel alongside Christ, we, too, are disciples. His words were recorded for a reason because we’ve also been assigned these instructions.
Often, we think of “missions” as traveling to a distant land to deliver sermons and meet physical needs. Intimidating visions of missionaries living far from the comforts of home persuade us to stick to something safer. Meanwhile, we regard people in vocational ministry as the disciple-makers, and we frequently join them for an event like an after-school program, outreach to the unhoused, or a supply collection for the local pregnancy center. All of these are good things, but they don’t fulfill the Lord’s Great Commission.
The key word is disciple.
Discipleship involves a great deal of time and dedication, much like being an apprentice. The disciples who walked with Jesus devoted their entire lives to serving and learning to be like Him. Deeper than students, they were also Christ’s friends. Their relationship with the Lord transformed their hearts. We are called not only to share the words of God’s story, but to create and nurture disciples, followers of Christ who dedicate their entire lives to deeply knowing Him. To do so, we are required to be disciples ourselves.
When we live out the love of Christ, God in us puts the gospel on display in remarkable ways. Demonstrating God’s Word speaks to the heart as well as the mind, a testament to His truth. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Colossae explaining discipleship as life in community. In Colossians 3:12-17, he describes compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Teaching and worshiping together as a community are key, as are peace and gratitude.
God gives each of His disciples unique gifts and purpose. (Ephesians 2:10 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31) The pages of the Bible are full of ordinary people living for the Lord, like Joseph, Esther, Priscilla and Aquila, or the woman at the well.
Their mission was to love their neighbors.
Their tools were the abilities and experiences God gave them.
Similarly, we can make disciples right where God places us, with what He’s given us, when we’re filled with and empowered by His Holy Spirit, which comes through true repentance from our sin and faith in Jesus as our Savior from the deadly consequences of sin. As we tell the story of Christ’s love and salvation, we care for relationships, modeling God’s relationship with each of us. Through this, we can bring others into the Lord’s community. Our family, coworkers, neighbors, and friends are right here, and they need Jesus just like we do.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth telling them to “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) This tells us we must ditch the notion our discipleship mission is an event or project; instead, it’s a lifestyle. Paul explained to the Romans that we are to serve God with every ounce of our being; our bodies are a living sacrifice to Him. (Romans 12:1-2) Our mission is in every moment.
Like Jesus, our entire lives are made to emanate the love of God and the message of the Gospel when we surrender to His ways being lived out in us! We demonstrate this by consistently caring, listening, and being a friend. Praying for our neighbors is an incredible way to faithfully serve as God transforms lives. As we genuinely invest, the Lord will provide natural conversations as means of sharing the Gospel authentically. When our everyday living matches the words we share, we powerfully display the good news.
Dear friend, I invite you to live out the assignment God has given you, right where He’s placed you, with the gifts He’s given you. May you live with so much of His love that the people around you see the Lord in all you do. Pray for your community as you nurture relationships, seeing people through the eyes of Christ. We’ll watch as He moves and delight in being part of His incredible mission.
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!