Go Make Disciples

Go Make Disciples

After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem and instructed them to meet him back in Galilee, the hub of his earthly ministry.  There, in relative safety away from his enemies in Jerusalem, Jesus would spend 40 days teaching and preparing his disciples to lead his movement after he ascended back to heaven.  

Surprisingly, verse 17 says when they saw him on the mountain in Galilee, “they worshiped him, but some doubted.”  Jesus’s resurrection was so unexpected, even some of his closet disciples doubted what they were seeing! The Greek word “doubt” means to waiver, to have two minds going back and forth. They must have thought, “Is this real? I hope it’s real! Is there another explanation? Jesus must be the Messiah!”  

I don’t know about you, but I am glad the Bible records that some doubted!  For many Christians, doubt is a part of their faith journey.  Even the disciple Thomas doubted when all the others had seen and believed. Seeing isn’t always believing. Ultimately, doubt is not rooted in a lack of evidence. Doubt is rooted in a hard, prideful heart that doesn’t want to believe. If you struggle with doubt, carefully look for Jesus in the Church and the Christians around you. Humbly read the Word of God. Eagerly pray for the Spirit to open your eyes.  

As Jesus gathered his followers, he gave them a charge. Our Savior’s words are deep and powerful, and they are words for us as well.  

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”

Jesus rose from the dead in triumph. The resurrection validates his identity as Lord and Savior. He now has all authority as reigning King. Think of what Jesus could have done with his authority. He could have commanded the angels to spread the Gospel. Jesus could have shouted into every village, and called all people to turn to him. With all authority, Jesus could have even invented computers 2,000 years early and sent out a mass email sharing the gospel! But he didn’t. Instead, Jesus sent out eleven men.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”

Just as God sent Christ on a rescue mission, now his followers are sent out as well. In John’s Gospel, Jesus says “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (Jn. 20:21). Jesus gives us an active command, “Go!”  Not wait, not sit, not think about it, not let them come to you… but go seek the lost. Those disciples shared the gospel with others, who shared with others – and the gospel spread exponentially across the generations, across the world ever since! 

A disciple is more than a convert, or a confessor, or a church-goer. A disciple is an apprentice of the Master. A disciple trusts Jesus as Savior, and gives his life to follow Jesus as Lord. The command to make disciples of all nations was spoken to 1st century Jews who thought salvation was only for them. But Jesus sent his followers to Jews and Gentiles from every nation on the planet. Christianity is not an American religion or a western trend. Christianity started in the Middle East and has spread all over the world. 

Jesus calls us to go.  Go: tell your children, family, teammates, neighbors, college friends, and coworkers. Go out to your neighborhood, community, our nation, and to every nation – every tribe, every tongue, every people group.

“Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”

The word “baptize” comes from the regular Greek word meaning “to immerse in water.” Baptism is a sacred ordinance Jesus gave to his Church, so his disciples would be immersed in the triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit. When a follower of Jesus is baptized, it demonstrates that she has died with Christ and has been raised with Christ. To be baptized is to be washed, to publicly declare your faith and identify as a Christian in a hostile world.

“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”

Jesus taught a lot – parables, stories, lessons, commands! He taught us about life in God’s Kingdom and how to enter God’s Kingdom. He showed us God himself. Jesus famously taught that every command in Scripture can be summarized with two commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:37-40). To follow Jesus means we not only believe in him but we follow and obey all that the Word of God teaches. And so we obey, and we teach others to obey. 

“And behold, I am always with you, even to the end of the age!”

This mission Jesus gave his followers will continue until he returns, until the end of the age! And remember this: Jesus, the one who has all authority, goes with us! God says in both the Old and New Testaments, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5). He commissions us as his ambassadors and then he goes with us.

Christian, your charge is to go make disciples. Let’s continue what Jesus and his first followers started. 


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