READING: Matthew 28:18-20
I suspect that many believers hear the “making disciples” component of the Great Commission, and they assume that Jesus was talking about discipling believers. Surely He was speaking of those who believed, but the mandate to baptize – “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19) – shows that He was also calling His followers to lead others to Him. Indeed, the essence of “making disciples” in this verse is both evangelizing and equipping. One New Testament scholar describes the process this way: “The verb ‘make disciples’ also commands a kind of evangelism that does not stop after someone makes a profession of faith. The truly subordinate participles in v. 19 explain what making disciples involves: ‘baptizing’ them and ‘teaching’ them obedience to all of Jesus’ commandments. The first of these will be a once-for-all, decisive initiation into Christian community. The second proves a perennially incomplete, life-long task.”*
This truth has at least these practical implications for me as a disciple-maker:
- I must not limit my discipling relationship to only believers. Even as I evangelize a non-believer, I’m working on the front end to make him a disciple of Jesus.
- I need to think more strategically about inviting non-believers to study the Bible with me, discuss Christianity, and consider the claims of Christ. I need to plan more breakfasts or lunches with folks who don’t know Jesus.
- Without neglecting on-the-spot, lovingly confrontational evangelism, I want to become more comfortable with evangelism built around relationships.
- I should never grow comfortable with simply watching believers grow. Instead, I should grieve when I can’t name the persons I’m investing in so they will follow Christ.
- Great joy comes when we’re privileged to equip new believers that we’ve personally led to the Lord.
So, today, who’s your disciple that you seeking to lead to be a disciple?
PRAYER: “God, burden me even more to invest in non-believers in discipling relationships.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Ezekiel 30-32, 1 Peter 4-5
* Craig Blomberg (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 431). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.