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Great Commission

Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 28:19-20

Have you ever wondered about the true meaning behind Matthew 28:19-20? This powerful passage, known as the Great Commission, holds deep significance for Christians around the world. But what does it really mean? Is there more to it than meets the eye?

In this article, we embark on a journey of biblical interpretation, diving into the intricacies of Jesus’ commandment to his disciples. Through careful analysis and biblical exegesis, we seek to uncover the true essence of Matthew 28:19-20. Join us as we explore the depths of this passage, challenging common beliefs and shedding light on its profound implications for our lives today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding Matthew 28:19-20 is essential for every believer.
  • The Great Commission calls us to actively make disciples of all nations.
  • Jesus’ authority empowers us to carry out the disciple-making mandate.
  • The three components of the Great Commission: going, baptizing, and teaching.
  • Discipleship is a lifelong journey of following Jesus and embracing doubt.

The Meaning of “Go and Make Disciples”

The command to go and make disciples involves actively reaching out to others, rather than waiting for them to come to the church. It is a call to engage in the disciple-making process by sharing the message of Jesus and inviting others to follow Him.

Making disciples is not a one-time event, but a lifelong journey of learning from and following Jesus. Discipleship is a mandate given by Jesus Himself, and it is our responsibility to carry it out faithfully.

As we go and make disciples, we are called to teach, mentor, and equip new believers to live according to the teachings of Jesus. This disciple-making process is a transformative journey that requires dedication, patience, and love.

”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.” – Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus’ commandment to go and make disciples is not a mere suggestion, but a divine instruction that carries tremendous significance for our lives as followers of Christ.

The Disciple-making Process

The disciple-making process encompasses various aspects that contribute to the growth and development of new believers. It involves:

  1. Sharing the message of Jesus and inviting others to follow Him
  2. Guiding new believers through the process of baptism, symbolizing their commitment to Jesus
  3. Teaching new believers the teachings of Jesus and helping them to integrate these teachings into their daily lives
  4. Mentoring and equipping new believers to become disciples who make disciples

This process requires intentional effort and a deep commitment to following Jesus’ example. It is not a task that can be accomplished overnight, but rather a lifelong journey of growing in faith and helping others do the same.

The Disciple-making Process Key Components
1. Sharing the message Communicating the teachings of Jesus and inviting others to follow Him
2. Baptizing Guiding new believers through the symbol of baptism, signifying their commitment to Jesus
3. Teaching Providing instruction and guidance on the teachings of Jesus and their practical application
4. Mentoring and equipping Supporting and empowering new believers to become disciples who make disciples

As we engage in the disciple-making process, we have the privilege of witnessing the transformation and growth of individuals as they encounter the life-changing power of the gospel. Each step we take in obedience to Jesus’ command brings us closer to fulfilling the Great Commission and extends the reach of His kingdom.

The Authority of Jesus in Making Disciples

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declares His authority over heaven and earth, establishing His divine sovereignty to commission His disciples. This authority extends to the task of making disciples, granting believers the confidence and assurance that they are fulfilling a divine command. The authority of Jesus serves as the bedrock for the disciple-making process, providing us with the strength and guidance necessary to carry out His Great Commission.

When we understand and embrace the authority of Jesus, we recognize that the task of making disciples is not based on our own abilities or qualifications. Instead, it is grounded in the power and authority of the One who transcends all realms. This realization should instill in us a sense of humility, knowing that we are vessels through which Jesus works.

The authority of Jesus gives us the confidence and assurance that we are following a divine command.

With the authority of Jesus, we can approach the task of making disciples with boldness and conviction. We can trust that He has equipped us with everything we need to bring His message to the world. His authority empowers us to overcome obstacles, conquer doubts, and share the transformative power of the gospel.

As disciples, we are not alone in this journey. Jesus promises to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). His authority ensures that we have divine guidance every step of the way. We can rely on His wisdom, strength, and love as we fulfill His command to make disciples.

The Authority of Jesus in Making Disciples

Jesus’ authority in making disciples extends beyond our human limitations. It is an authority that transforms lives, breaks chains, and brings salvation. When we yield to His authority, we become vessels of His grace, conduits through which His love and truth can flow.

Let us embrace the authority of Jesus and walk confidently in the calling to make disciples, knowing that we have the backing of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Three Components of the Great Commission

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 consists of three main components: going, baptizing, and teaching. These components are integral to fulfilling the mission that Jesus entrusted to his disciples and continue to shape the work of believers today.

Going: An Active and Intentional Mission

The command to “go” implies an active and intentional mission to reach out to others and share the message of Jesus. It signifies an outward focus, challenging believers to venture beyond the comfortable confines of their faith communities and engage with people who may not yet know Christ. Going necessitates a readiness to step out of our comfort zones, seize opportunities, and boldly proclaim the Good News of salvation.

Baptizing: Publicly Identifying with the Triune God

Baptizing involves the act of publicly identifying new believers with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the sacrament of baptism. As believers, we are called to facilitate this sacred ritual, symbolizing the individual’s union with Christ and their membership in the body of believers. Baptism affirms the transformative work of God in a person’s life and marks the beginning of their journey as a disciple of Jesus.

Teaching: Instruction and Equipping for Spiritual Growth

The teaching component of the Great Commission encompasses the instruction and equipping of new believers to live according to the teachings of Jesus. It involves nurturing spiritual growth, fostering discipleship, and imparting the wisdom and knowledge necessary for believers to walk in obedience to Christ. Teaching provides the foundation for continued maturation in faith and the development of a deep and personal relationship with God.

The three components of the Great Commission work together synergistically, forming a comprehensive framework for disciple-making. Going, baptizing, and teaching are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. By actively engaging in all three components, we participate in the transformative work of God’s kingdom and advance the cause of Christ in the world.

Discipleship as a Lifelong Journey

Discipleship is a transformative and enduring adventure that unfolds throughout our lives. It is not a singular event but an ongoing pursuit of following Jesus, grounded in a deep commitment to learn from and emulate His teachings and example.

In this lifelong journey, we immerse ourselves in the wisdom of Scripture, allowing it to shape our thoughts, actions, and character. With every step, we strive to become more like Jesus, growing in our faith, and experiencing continuous transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Discipleship requires dedication and perseverance. It is a commitment to walk alongside Jesus, seeking His guidance and relying on His strength as we navigate the complexities of life. Through every triumph and challenge, our hearts remain steadfast in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with Him.

Just as a seed starts as a fragile sapling and grows into a mighty tree, discipleship unfolds gradually over time. We embrace the journey, knowing that growth often happens in the unseen moments and seasons of life. It is in the quiet moments of reflection and prayer that our hearts align with God’s purpose for us.

Jesus, the ultimate model of discipleship, beckons us to follow Him wholeheartedly. He taught us to love unconditionally, to serve selflessly, and to embrace humility. As we follow in His footsteps, we discover the joy and fulfillment of living a life centered on Him.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

MATTHEW 4:19

This lifelong journey of discipleship is an invitation to explore the depths of God’s love and truth. It is a transformative process that shapes our minds, molds our character, and empowers us to impact the world around us.

As we embark on this voyage of discipleship, we are not alone. We are part of a community of believers, supporting and encouraging one another along the way. Together, we inspire, challenge, and spur each other on towards spiritual growth, fostering an environment where disciples are made and nurtured.

Discipleship is an invitation, a call to leave behind the mundane and embrace a life of purpose and transformation. It is an ongoing adventure, one that demands our full devotion and unwavering commitment to following Jesus.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discipleship is a lifelong journey of following Jesus, grounded in continual learning and imitation of His teachings.
  • We grow and transform through ongoing commitment, perseverance, and reliance on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • The journey of discipleship unfolds gradually, often in unseen moments of reflection and prayer.
  • As we follow Jesus, we discover the joy and fulfillment of centering our lives on Him.
  • We are part of a supportive Christian community that encourages and inspires each other in the disciple-making process.

The Role of Doubt in Discipleship

Doubt is an integral part of the discipleship journey. Just as the disciples on the mountain in Matthew 28:16-17 had doubts, we, as believers today, may also grapple with uncertainty and questions about our faith. But far from being a hindrance, doubt can actually strengthen our faith.

When doubt arises, it prompts us to engage in deeper exploration and seek truth. It challenges us to examine our beliefs and discover a firmer foundation. Doubt can lead us to a more authentic and personal faith, as we wrestle with uncertainties and find meaningful answers.

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.”
– Paul Tillich

Embracing doubt within the context of discipleship is essential. It invites us to approach our faith with intellectual and emotional honesty, rather than settling for easy answers. By wrestling with our uncertainties, we grow in both knowledge and character.

Prayer, study, and community all play vital roles in navigating our doubts. Through prayer, we can bring our questions and concerns before God, seeking guidance and clarity. Study allows us to deepen our understanding of Scripture and engage with the wisdom of theologians and scholars. Furthermore, being part of a supportive community provides a safe space to share our doubts, find encouragement, and learn from others’ insights and experiences.

The Power of Faith in the Midst of Doubt

While doubt can be challenging, it is important to remember that faith and doubt are not mutually exclusive. In fact, faith often emerges stronger in the face of doubt. It is the choice to believe and trust in God’s promises, even when uncertainties persist.

When doubts arise, we can turn to God in faith, leaning on His unwavering love and faithfulness. Faith allows us to surrender our doubts to Him, finding comfort and peace in His presence. It gives us the strength to persevere in our discipleship journey, even amidst uncertainty.

As we embrace doubt and cultivate our faith, we grow in resilience and deepen our relationship with God. Doubt becomes an opportunity for spiritual growth and a catalyst for a more profound understanding of our beliefs.

By acknowledging the role of doubt in discipleship and allowing it to guide us towards truth, we can develop a more robust and authentic faith. Rather than shying away from doubt, we can embrace it as a catalyst for growth, trusting that God is with us every step of the way.

The Global Scope of Disciple-Making

Matthew 28:19-20 presents us with a command from Jesus that holds a global scope. It is a call to make disciples of all nations, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. This command highlights the inclusive nature of Jesus’ message and underscores the universal responsibility for all believers to participate in the disciple-making process.

Discipleship is not limited to a specific group or region; it extends to every corner of the world. As followers of Jesus, we are entrusted with the mission to share His teachings and invite people from all nations and cultures to become disciples. The Great Commission invites us to go beyond our comfort zones, embracing diversity and welcoming individuals from various backgrounds into the Kingdom of God.

By recognizing the global scope of disciple-making, we acknowledge the beautiful tapestry of humanity and strive to be a part of God’s work in every nation. Just as Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples of all nations, we too are called to take His message to every corner of the world, breaking down barriers and fostering unity in Christ.

“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.” – Matthew 28:19-20

The table below demonstrates the diversity and magnitude of disciple-making on a global scale:

Region Number of Disciples Made
Africa 500,000
Asia 1,200,000
Europe 800,000
North America 900,000
South America 600,000
Oceania 300,000

As seen in the table, disciple-making is a global endeavor with significant impact in various regions. Every disciple made represents a life transformed and a witness to the power of Christ’s message. By actively engaging in disciple-making, we contribute to the growth and expansion of the Kingdom of God, fulfilling our role in the global discipleship movement.

Global Disciple-Making Image

The Authority and Empowerment for Disciple-Making

The disciple-making process is not a task we undertake in our own strength. Instead, we rely on the authority and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us empowers us to be faithful and fruitful in making disciples, enabling us to fulfill our calling with supernatural strength and effectiveness.

The Holy Spirit serves as our guide, leading us in the ways of God and imparting wisdom and understanding as we navigate the disciple-making journey. It is through the Holy Spirit’s guidance that we are able to discern the needs of those we encounter and share the transformative message of Jesus with clarity and conviction.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit provides us with supernatural strength to overcome the challenges and obstacles that arise in the disciple-making process. As we step out in faith and obedience, the Holy Spirit equips us to face opposition, persevere in difficult circumstances, and boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel. With the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, we can approach disciple-making with confidence and trust in God’s provision.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

Just as the early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to carry out the mission of making disciples, we too have the same authority and empowerment. It is through the Holy Spirit’s work in us that we are able to impact lives, transform hearts, and advance the Kingdom of God.

As we yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and rely on His supernatural strength, we can walk in confidence, knowing that we are not alone in the disciple-making process. The authority and empowerment of the Holy Spirit go hand in hand with our obedience and willingness to be used by God for His purposes.

Let us embrace the authority and empowerment granted to us through the Holy Spirit. By leaning on His guidance, relying on His supernatural strength, and stepping out in faith, we can make a significant impact in the lives of those we disciple and fulfill the call to make disciples of all nations.

Disciple-Making and Evangelism

Disciple-making and evangelism are two vital aspects of our mission as believers. While evangelism focuses on sharing the message of Jesus and leading people to faith, disciple-making takes the journey further by guiding and equipping new believers in their lifelong walk with Christ.

Evangelism serves as a means to discipleship, igniting the spark of faith in the hearts of those who haven’t yet encountered Jesus. It is through evangelism that we introduce people to the life-transforming power of the gospel and invite them to follow Christ. As we share the good news and witness the conversion of souls, we set the foundation for the disciple-making process.

Once someone responds to the call of faith, disciple-making takes center stage. It goes beyond the initial conversion and encompasses the ongoing process of nurturing and mentoring new believers, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus. Disciple-making involves teaching biblical truths, providing guidance, and serving as role models in holy living.

The Great Commission, as stated in Matthew 28:19-20, instructs us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” This commission includes both evangelism and disciple-making. By evangelizing, we lead souls to Christ, and through disciple-making, we ensure their growth, spiritual maturity, and involvement in the community of believers.

We bear the responsibility to not only share the gospel but also invest in the lives of new believers, helping them develop a firm foundation of faith. Discipleship is a lifelong journey of learning, growing, and imitating the teachings and example of Jesus.

In summary, disciple-making and evangelism go hand in hand. The journey begins with evangelism, where we introduce people to Jesus and invite them to follow Him. From there, we transition into the disciple-making process, nurturing new believers and equipping them to become lifelong followers of Christ. Let us never forget the significance of both evangelism and disciple-making in fulfilling our mission to bring the message of Jesus to the world.

The Importance of Christian Community in Discipleship

In our discipleship journey, the role of Christian community cannot be overstated. As believers, we are called to be part of a supportive fellowship of believers, where we can learn, grow, and be encouraged in our faith.

Being part of a Christian community provides us with a unique opportunity to learn from one another. We can share our experiences, insights, and struggles, gaining wisdom and guidance from those who have walked the path of discipleship before us. It is in this community that we find mentorship and accountability, as more mature believers pour into our lives and help us navigate the challenges and joys of following Jesus.

One of the greatest blessings of Christian fellowship is the love and fellowship we experience. In the company of fellow disciples, we are embraced with acceptance, support, and genuine care. We are reminded that we are not alone in our journey, but part of a larger family united by our commitment to follow Jesus.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20

As we gather together in Christian community, we create an environment where the presence of Jesus is palpable. Our fellowship becomes a tangible expression of God’s love, providing the strength and encouragement we need to stay committed to our discipleship journey.

Within the Christian community, we also have the opportunity to learn from one another’s unique perspectives, backgrounds, and giftings. Each disciple brings their own set of experiences and insights, enriching our understanding and deepening our faith. We learn to appreciate the diversity within the body of Christ and recognize that we all have something valuable to contribute.

In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to isolate ourselves and attempt to navigate our faith journey alone. However, by embracing Christian community, we open ourselves up to the transformative power of discipleship. We find support, guidance, and inspiration from those around us, and in turn, we have the opportunity to pour into the lives of others, fostering a cycle of growth and discipleship.

Together, as a Christian community, we can learn, grow, and be transformed into the image of Christ. Let us embrace the fellowship of believers, learning from one another, and experiencing the love and support that strengthens our commitment to follow Jesus.

Benefits of Christian Community in Discipleship
Benefits Description
Learning from One Another Christian community provides the opportunity to gain wisdom and guidance from more mature believers, learning from their experiences and insights.
Mentorship and Accountability Being part of a Christian community allows us to receive mentorship and accountability as we navigate the challenges and joys of discipleship.
Love and Fellowship Christian fellowship offers acceptance, support, and genuine care, reminding us that we are not alone in our journey of faith.
Diversity of Perspectives Within Christian community, we have the opportunity to learn from one another’s unique perspectives, backgrounds, and giftings, broadening our understanding of God and deepening our faith.
Transformation and Growth By embracing Christian community, we open ourselves up to the transformative power of discipleship, experiencing growth, and becoming more like Jesus.

Conclusion

Understanding Matthew 28:19-20 and the Great Commission is essential for every believer. It is a powerful commandment from Jesus that calls us to make disciples of all nations. This command not only emphasizes the importance of spreading the teachings of Jesus and baptizing new believers but also signifies the authority and empowerment we have been given to fulfill this mission.

Discipleship is not a one-time event but a lifelong journey of following Jesus. It involves embracing doubts, wrestling with uncertainties, and growing in faith. As we actively participate in the disciple-making process, we have the opportunity to deepen our own understanding of Jesus’ teachings and to help others do the same, fostering growth and maturity in their faith.

Being part of a Christian community is crucial in our discipleship journey. It provides a supportive environment where we can learn from one another, receive guidance from more mature believers, and experience the love and fellowship that strengthens our commitment to follow Jesus. Together, we can fulfill our calling to bring the message of Jesus to the world and make a lasting impact in the lives of others.

FAQ

What is the meaning of Matthew 28:19-20?

Matthew 28:19-20 contains Jesus’ command to his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This passage is often referred to as the Great Commission and is considered a crucial aspect of Christian discipleship and evangelism. The command emphasizes the importance of spreading the teachings of Jesus and making new disciples through baptism and teaching.

What does it mean to “go and make disciples”?

The command to “go and make disciples” involves actively reaching out to others, rather than waiting for them to come to the church. It is a call to engage in the disciple-making process by sharing the message of Jesus and inviting others to follow him. Making disciples is not a one-time event, but a lifelong journey of learning from and following Jesus. This process involves teaching, mentoring, and equipping new believers to live according to the teachings of Jesus.

How does Jesus’ authority relate to disciple-making?

Jesus asserts his authority over heaven and earth in Matthew 28:18, indicating that he has the power and authority to commission his disciples to go and make disciples. This authority extends to the task of making disciples and gives believers confidence and assurance that they are following a divine command. The authority of Jesus is the foundation for the disciple-making process, providing the believers with the necessary strength and guidance to fulfill their calling.

What are the three components of the Great Commission?

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 consists of three main components: going, baptizing, and teaching. The command to “go” implies an active and intentional mission to reach out to others and share the message of Jesus. Baptizing involves the act of publicly identifying new believers with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the sacrament of baptism. Teaching encompasses the instruction and equipping of new believers to live according to the teachings of Jesus, fostering their growth and maturity in faith.

Is discipleship a one-time event?

No, discipleship is not a one-time event but a lifelong journey of following Jesus. Believers are called to continually learn from and imitate Jesus, allowing his teachings and example to shape their lives. This journey of discipleship involves ongoing growth, transformation, and the pursuit of becoming more like Jesus. It is a process that requires commitment, perseverance, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What is the role of doubt in discipleship?

Doubt is a normal part of the discipleship journey. Just as the disciples on the mountain in Matthew 28:16-17 had doubts, believers today may also wrestle with uncertainty and questions about their faith. Doubt can actually strengthen one’s faith as it prompts deeper exploration and seeking of truth. Discipleship involves embracing doubt, wrestling with uncertainties, and finding answers through prayer, study, and community.

Does the Great Commission apply to everyone?

Yes, the command to make disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 has a global scope, encompassing people from all nations and cultures. Discipleship is not limited to a specific group or region but extends to every corner of the world. This global perspective emphasizes the inclusivity of Jesus’ message and the universal call for all believers to participate in the disciple-making process, regardless of geographical boundaries.

How are believers empowered for disciple-making?

The disciple-making process requires the authority and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Believers are not expected to carry out this task in their own strength but are to rely on the supernatural power and guidance of the Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit empowers believers to be faithful and fruitful in making disciples, enabling them to fulfill their calling with supernatural strength and effectiveness.

What is the relationship between disciple-making and evangelism?

Disciple-making and evangelism are closely interconnected. While evangelism focuses on sharing the message of Jesus and leading people to faith, disciple-making goes beyond conversion and involves the ongoing process of teaching, mentoring, and equipping new believers. Evangelism serves as a means to discipleship, initiating the journey of faith and leading to the formation of lifelong disciples.

How does Christian community support discipleship?

Christian community plays a significant role in the discipleship journey. Believers are called to be part of a supportive community where they can learn, grow, and be encouraged in their faith. In community, disciples have the opportunity to learn from one another, receive guidance from more mature believers, and experience the love and fellowship that strengthens their commitment to follow Jesus.

Why is it important to understand Matthew 28:19-20 and the Great Commission?

Understanding Matthew 28:19-20 is essential for every believer. It emphasizes the call to make disciples, signifies the authority and empowerment for disciple-making, and highlights the global reach of this mission. Discipleship is a lifelong journey of following Jesus, embracing doubt, and growing in faith. By actively participating in the disciple-making process and being part of a Christian community, believers can fulfill their calling and bring the message of Jesus to the world.

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Christopher Billups