Last week, we considered Jesus’ call for his followers to seek His kingdom first. Today, we will look at the second thing Jesus called us to accomplish in His name: making other disciples.
Jesus’ last or final command in Matthew 28:18-20, what is commonly known as the Great Commission, sends us in Jesus’ name to all peoples on the holy task of making disciples who were to be baptized into the life and power of the Triune God and taught to obey everything Jesus told us.
Obedience is the fruit of our love for him. In His kingdom, mere talk is cheap! (John 14:23, 1 Corinthians 4:20)
There was a young American engineer who was sent to Ireland for a year. When he left, his fiancée gave him a harmonica. She said, “I want you to learn to play this: it will help to keep your mind off those Irish girls.” He wrote to her often, and told he her that he was practicing his harmonica every night.
After a year, he returned to America and was met at the airport by his fiancée. When he went excitedly to greet her with a hug and a kiss, she pushed him back. “Wait! Before anything else, I want to hear you play the harmonica.”
She wanted to see his proclamations in practice. Similarly, on that last day, would we be able to play the harmonica of our professed obedience to Christ?
The tragedy in our churches today is that while many so-called believers may have knowledge of God’s will and even experience His goodness and love, they are often deficient and complacent when it comes to obeying the clear commands of Jesus. Thus, they prove not to be true citizens and subjects of the Kingdom of God. The chasm between mere profession in words and real obedience in action will ultimately prove indomitable and damnable (Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46).
What characterizes true disciples? Our Lord explicitly uses the indicative phrase ‘my disciples’ in the Gospels to identify those who obey and do his will. In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus states three times that ‘my disciples’ will have him as the first and foremost priority of their lives. Only three other places elsewhere (all in the Gospel of John) is Jesus quoted using the same phrase. Ultimately, disciples that Jesus calls His own are those who abide continually in his word (John 8:31), love one another as He commands (John 14:34-35), and are fruitful in reproducing other disciples (John 15:8).
Committed, Word-abiding, loving and fruitful Christians are called to reproduce themselves in others.
As disciples of Jesus, it behooves us to major on the things that Jesus majored on. Consequently, the seeking of God’s kingdom coming on earth and the making of disciples of all people must be the milieu and context of our mission on earth. Pleasing Jesus by doing these two things must therefore define the shape and scope of our work, till He returns.