This Devotional series which is part of the Clayton Church Value-Based Discipleship series, which was launched on Sunday 23 July 2017. Interestingly, this exact passage, given it is the Great Commission, has been the subject of a previous Timothy Group 4-column study.
Passage: Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
The words of Jesus clearly stand out as the key stand-out of this passage, which we know today as the Great Commission:
In retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience), the following is actually a reproduction of my Timothy Group 4-column retelling, completed earlier this year in February:
Then all the remaining disciples departed Jerusalem for Galilee, following the instructions of Jesus to meet up at a specific mountain top. There, even though not everyone was fully convinced of his Lordship, they all bowed before him to declare him as Lord and Saviour, the Messiah. Jesus taught them for a final time, saying “With the full power and glory of God over the entire world – heaven and earth – go in His name to spread the good news that the Kingdom of God is here and that all should turn from their ways and follow Christ in living out the will of God here on earth. Baptise all new believers with the power of the trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that they would be reborn in the Spirit. Share and follow the model that Jesus himself had provided, so that all believers would be obedient. Jesus finally gave the disciples his assurance and trust that He would always be with them for all eternity.
What I Discovered
This section combines the previous Timothy Group 4-column study insights, but also has new insights, gleaned from this late July devotion.
God shows me that even though not all his own direct disciples had full unity in the spirit, with some still expressing doubt, Jesus was not too concerned about the lack of unity in belief. He instead focused on getting on with the job, in terms of teaching and exposing the Great Commission. Sometimes, aiming for 100% belief is unnecessary and overkill.
This above insight is still just as relevant and has particular importance for me given recent opportunities for me to represent Jesus and the faith to non-believers. In one case, the lack of unity was highlighted as problematic by the non-believer, who is knowledgeable of the Christian faith. The above point can thus be applied – if the presence of doubt did not stop Jesus, why should it be such a big stumbling block for others?
We can go forth and fulfil the Great Commission in making disciples of all nations because God is with us and He is supporting us 100%. The challenge and lesson are therefore to go out with confidence; not overconfidence or arrogance, but righteous confidence that He fills us with.
Again, for this July timed devotion, my insights are influenced by recent conversations with non-believers. Part of their argument and case is that Jesus came to save us all, irrespective of whether we believe. Clearly, He did, but part of that reality in dying and taking on the sins of the world, requires us, as believers and followers of Christ, to champion His cause and continue what He started. The point is that, having sacrificed His life on the cross, and then conquering death, so that we all, even though sinners, may stand worthy and righteous before God, Jesus really was merely starting us all on this journey. The story and journey for us now is to continue and share the Gospel with the nations of the world.
A disciple is someone who is making disciples, baptising them into the faith and living out the example of obedience in following the commandments of God. This topic has been a recurring one of late given the Church vision and mission to be making disciples.
Funny that… here we are now, in a Church-wide values-driven discipleship launch. The value of reproducibility, where disciples make new disciples, is clear in the Great Commission.
We can take heart that God is always with us, and in the form/person of the Holy Spirit, he indeed can dwell within our being to help us achieve greater things according to His will and purpose.
This insight is also made anew and relevant given my recent ongoing dialogue with a non-believer who started off our conversation by asking literally to speak to God, and then from there, challenging my assertions that we can just communicate and know God personally. This non-believer was quite clear and adamant that God does not exist, so therefore how can I or believers communicate to something/someone who does not exist. God is with us – Emmanuel!
Obedience Step “I Will”
Building upon the last insight commentary, I believe the Holy Spirit will help inspire me with a word of knowledge and encouragement for this last non-believer person so that when he calls me again to talk, I will be ready with a message from God.
I will share a word of knowledge from God with this non-believer to show him that God loves him, wants to know him, and that He is not just real, but through Him, all things will make perfect sense.