“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Mathew 28:19-20A
Whenever I’ve read or heard teaching on the Great Commission (Matthew 28) in the past, I always feel woefully inadequate or unprepared as though I’m expected to go door knocking and be a crazy Jesus salesperson evangelist. And that’s so not me.
This time around, I have a different perspective. Mary Magdalene and another Mary have seen the risen Jesus, but the disciples have not. They go to to Galilee, and Jesus appears. They worship him, and then Jesus gives the Great Commission…And that’s the end of Matthew’s gospel. The other Gospels have other stories and notes of how Jesus encouraged and spent time with the disciples after the resurrection. Not Matthew, Jesus gives an unsettling edict–and then the Gospel is over.
I’m wondering if the disciples are feeling woefully inadequate at this point too. Jesus was just crucified a couple of days before; they’ve all been scattered and terrified (and probably feeling less than confident about themselves and their relationship with Jesus).
But here’s the deal: Jesus isn’t asking them to do something new. They’ve already been walking with him and making disciples all along. He’s shown them what to do; he’s not sending them out as clueless idiots. Secondly, he’s not sending them out alone. He’s giving a commission to a group–the making disciples is the work of the group–not just an individual activity. And he’s still going to be with them; he’s not leaving them alone with this.
And when I think of all the people that have been influential in making a disciple of me; that point hits home. Countless people have contributed to the weaving of the tapestry that is my life. It’s not just about me making disciples as a Jesus’ salesperson. It’s about us as a caring community making disciples and being church together. And that’s an even harder task –but at least it’s not a lonely one.