Matthew 28 might seem a long way from the beginning of Matthew and the Christmas story, but it has important words for our generation: 'Make disciples ... teach people'. Poignant because culture today would rather have church as an event, in the worst case another experience to consume, yet instead Jesus did life on life, apprenticeship, and walking alongside.
The Great Commission tells us that discipleship IS our mission. In fact it is a verb, so literally 'you go ... be disciplers', hence our series looking at 'Jesus the Discipler'. All the commissioning passages of the Gospels and Acts urge to preach the good news, proclaim forgiveness, and be witnesses to Jesus. They all re-iterate the core message that Jesus Saves, and with Jesus comes His Kingdom. Yet as the Matthew passage spells out - with Kingdom signs comes invitation, a call to follow, to walk with Jesus.
That is what Jesus wants his followers to replicate: preaching the Kingdom, seeing Kingdom life, calling to follow. That was the model of Jesus, an apprenticeship model that didn't just change people for the moment, but made people life changers over their own lifetime. He did it with a close 3, a team of 12, a gathering of women and men numbering 100+. In Acts Paul did the same, taking some 27 people with him on his journeys.
So the key question to ask is:
[OUT] Who are you called to disciple?
Jesus asked his followers to do the same as he did. Both Mt 28:19 and Jn 20:21 commission with the implication that they will then commission others. This is the same concept as going viral! He was saying 'Pass it on'.
Yet to do that you have to trust the next person - you cannot force something to go truly viral. And in any case this is God's work, only the work of the Holy Spirit can radically affect lives. Thankfully each of the five commissioning passages refer to the presence and work of the Spirit. All communicated 'Incredible things are possible because: God is with us!'. Read the promise of Matthew 28:20 afresh, take it on board ... and then pass it on!
Challenge: Pass it on [see if it goes viral!]
This series is about discipleship: how Jesus did it and therefore how we should be doing it. The implications are huge, affecting every area of church life, how we raise leaders, and how we might structure life in church. We do it not because it seems a clever idea, not even because we see it in the Bible, but because Jesus did it ... and we follow.