Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

Something happened in the lives of those first disciples.  Something big.  Something transformational.  Something changed their lives.

Fishermen became missionaries.  A tax collector became a teacher.  A small group of disciples, huddling in fear behind locked doors, began boldly telling the Jesus story in the marketplace and the public square.  Why?

I suppose you could argue that they were finally buckling down and getting obedient.  They did it because Jesus told them to do it.  They did it out of duty and a sense of obligation.  That answer doesn’t sound right to me.

Far better…they could hardly help themselves.  They were so overwhelmed – despite their doubts and misgivings – by the power of Jesus, the hope of the resurrection, and the personal transformations they saw in their own lives, that they felt compelled to do it.  They couldn’t keep it to themselves.  Nothing mattered more than sharing the story, than living the Jesus way, than becoming part of this radical new community of love, grace and peace.

My sense is that they had a deep sense of the continuing presence of Jesus in their lives and in their new community of followers of Jesus.  They lived with a deep sense of God’s presence, power and provision.

So they told the story.  They gathered for worship.  They wrote down their stories to better help them teach others.  They shared what they had with one another.  They welcomed and discipled new people.  They made deep personal sacrifices.  They became the living Body of Christ for the good of the world.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with duty, with obligation, with responsibility.  Most Christian congregations wouldn’t exist without members who do everything possible to get the bills paid, fill some pews on Sunday, and do a few things to be helpful in the world.  But there is often little fire in the bellies of such folk (unless someone else sits in their pew or they start talking about the church budget).  Today, these congregations tend to get older and smaller.

But what happens when people take these Great Commission verses to heart?  You see something utterly different.  You see congregations that act like those first disciples.  They are motivated by love, not obligation.  They are filled with gratitude and profound joy.  They remember what life was like before surrendering to Jesus.  They have a passion for connecting with new people, and a willingness to do anything to see that happen.  Their congregations explode with new life. 

Meditate for a moment now on that long ago mountain top.  You are there.  Jesus speaks personally to you, both the challenge to GO and the promise that he will go with you.  Your willingness to follow and to carry the good news into the world remains God’s only plan.  If not you, who?  If not now, when?

Let us pray:  Sometimes Lord we worry that you have placed too much trust in us.  We worry that we can’t do what you have called us to do.  We sense that we can’t will ourselves to do your will.  So we need the fire of your Holy Spirit to come upon us.  We need you to walk through the locked doors of our hearts.  Use us as you will to carry the message of your love into the lives of the people you send our way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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7 Responses to “Matthew 28:18-20”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for sharing your joy with us. You were missed. So very glad that you have begun this again.

  2. Ann K. Friedrichs Says:

    Thank you for sharing your joy with us again. You were missed.

  3. Chap Says:

    Welcome back. This is your calling. : )

  4. Maynard P. Kelleerman Says:

    Enjoy your devotions immensely. They are very powerful in the message they convey to any of us.

  5. Gene Carr Says:

    We often hear our fellow congregants say, “I am trying to understand what God’s will for my life is.” What?!? He told us, and I think ALL of us, to go forth and make disciples. I don’t see any ambiguity in that command at all. God’s will for our lives is: Come and See, Listen and Learn, Go and Tell (not Go and make them guess); GO AND TELL.

    I, too am glad you have resumed you messages.

  6. Jan Cormier Says:

    It was so exciting to see your devotionals begin again! I’ve missed them. Hope you’re doing well and enjoying your new position.

  7. Loyo David Says:

    Thank U 4 The Word Of God

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