Go and Make Disciples
“Go” doesn’t command each of us to find a corner of creation that has not heard of Jesus and win them over. “Go” simply says look for the opportunities right in front of you.RB Donovan
The command to “Go and make disciples” is well known. What is far less known and considered are the realities this command implies. “Go” doesn’t command each of us to find a corner of creation that has not heard of Jesus and win them over. “Go” simply says look for the opportunities right in front of you. The first reality is that whether we are baptized or not, we are always going someplace. I like the translation of this phrase from Matthew 28 that says, “As you go, make disciples.” This captures the essence of our life. We are always on the move, always going someplace.
Monday morning I went to the grocery store, then to the bank. Tuesday I walked to the corner café, and had a cup of coffee. Yesterday I took a walk around the block with Bailey. Along the way, as I was going, I had numerous opportunities to touch others with the love of Jesus. I didn’t quote Bible verses, call out “repent and be saved,” or in some other controversial way punch anyone in their spiritual nose.
I simply engaged them on their own terms. Smiles, greetings, and warm welcome. I know this doesn’t satisfy the urgency to convert them before Jesus returns, but consider that before I can discuss my belief that Jesus came to die for them and tell them about the gift of eternal life, they need to trust me. And frankly in this current culture the Bible is not an authority we can use to support our witness. So, the second reality is that, in their point of view, the authority to support our message is the relationship we the speaker have with them the hearer.
Before getting alarmed that this pushes God off to the side, check the Bible narratives to see that this is God’s method of getting other people to listen. In Acts 17:7 we hear that Paul went to the Synagogue to debate with the leaders. He didn’t wait for others to come to Him, he went to where they were. This is true for us. If we wait for them to come through the church doors we’ll have to turn off the lights when we leave.
But what is most illustrative to me is from the gospel of Matthew. If a Disciple is one who follows Jesus, ask, “Where does He go?” In chapter 9, verses 35-36 we learn that Jesus “went through all the towns and villages,” teaching, preaching, forgiving and healing.
Where does your congregation go? Does it go out among the neighborhoods around you? Is it teaching, preaching, forgiving, and healing? The lost and hurting are all around us. We all know dozens of people who need God’s restoration and comfort. Who are they? How can you help them? God has baptized you to be a gift to them for the salvation of their souls.