Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These are the last words in the Gospel of Matthew. Christ words are clear-cut. This is not a parable to chew over and speculate its meaning. Whether we are a First Century Disciple or a 21st Century Disciple these instructions are specific and easy to understand. Jesus has the authority to command it and we are to follow. We must make disciples of all nations, baptize these disciples, and teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded. And in doing this we are confident Jesus is with us all the way.
We know the early disciples had it rough. They were living under the realm of the Roman Government which could easily mean torture and death. Death! The disciples target audience was both Jews and people of many other worshiping beliefs or perhaps none at all. There were language barriers and culture restrictions. Not an easy job for poor fisherman with three years of instructions. Yet in spite of all the problems they were facing, the First Century Disciples grew churches everywhere.
How about us 21st century disciples? For starters, we have religious freedom and do not fear torture or death [at least not here in America]. If we are going to talk to someone it is usually a person we know. Most of our friends know something about Jesus and beliefs are pretty similar these days among Christian religions. Our friends speak English and our cultural backgrounds are often the same. A lot of us have more than three years of instruction…. most our entire lives. Yet statistics show we only invite people to church every 12 to 15 years.
Do you love your church? Are there parts you really value? Worship? Music? Children? Friendships? The mission field? Small groups? Can you get excited when you describe what goes on in and around the church? If the answer is yes, invite someone to join us.
Christmas is the perfect time to “go and make disciples of all nations”. The church is decorated, there is an aura of excitement, and the worship is so very special. Even with family that has said no in the past, it is always okay to try again and ask them to come! Maybe this time the answer will be yes!
And remember the last verse in the Gospel of Matthew, “…. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Ask someone to join us this Christmas, knowing the answer maybe “No”, yet believing that with Christ everything is possible.
Prayer: Today, Lord, as I invite someone to church let me do so with the confidence that you are with me and I have nothing to fear. I ask that you open the heart of my friend to your presence so it may be warmed to the story of the Baby Jesus and your present of love. Amen.