Week 6 - 18 May 2020
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you...' (Matt. 28:19-20)
We have arrived at the very heart of Jesus' plan to send out his disciples with the good news.
So far we have seen him appear to the disciples in various ways to provide convincing proof of his resurrection.
He dealt with the fears and doubts which had plagued the disciples following the horrific events of Good Friday.
In his latest appearances he talked about sending them out to do his work, introducing to them his plan for the future.
Now he explains clearly what is called, 'The Great Commission' is all about.
'Go and make disciples of all nations,' has become one of the most quoted of Jesus' commands, especially during the 1990's
which has been called the Decade of Evangelism.
Jesus gave this command over 2000 years ago - and every decade since then has been an opportunity to obey that command.
It is extraordinary that God should choose us to be the channel through which he reveals himself to the world,
for God has no need of anyone's help to achieve his purposes. He is fully autonomous and can exist
without anything he has created.
Yet he chooses people, his own creation, to be instruments in his plan to save world.
Most of us would argue that he'd do a far better job without us - but that's not his style.
His way is through relationship, through the lives of those who choose to be his people;
those in whom he lives through power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus said he would.
We can see in the reading the great commission involves three stages to bring people to faith;
first the actual act of conversion - the making of a disciple.
Then there is baptism - a sign of the new life they have received in Christ.
Finally, there is instruction in the Christian life - the process of growing in maturity as a Christian believer.
All three stages are important.
Sadly, too often it is the first two stages that are focussed on and the third stage gets neglected;
yet this stage is of vital importance as it effects the long-term survival of a new believer's faith.
The great commission tends to highlight the depth of our own commitment to follow Jesus.
Looking back over the past weeks we see how Jesus' reinstatement of Peter involved a fresh declaration of Peter's love for his Lord
and we see a further testing of the disciple's commitment as he calls them to action.
There on the mountain the disciples were faced with the final choice;
to believe that Jesus really was who he said he was and spread the gospel, or to give in to their doubts and walk away.
There is an old legend that tells of Jesus' return to heaven.
On his arrival one of the angels asked him about his future plans.
He told them, 'I have left eleven men and a few others to continue the work.'
"But what if they don't succeed?' asked the angel.
'There is no Plan B!' came the reply.
We are the bearers of the good news. We have been chosen by God to be his mouthpiece.
He has chosen no other way to reveal himself to humanity.
So let us to spread the good news of God's love and grace,
sharing with others the hope of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
16 For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)