Previous blogs have covered the top ten teachings of Christ (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Go and make disciples’.
This was the final message Jesus gave to His own disciples before He ascended back to His Father. The key message He wanted them to remember. Do we not try to grasp at any persons last words before they depart this earth? In a person’s dying moments our ears are fine tuned to hear any last words, and last requests that we can fulfil for them to honour their name after they have passed. These were Jesus’ last Words before He passed to the Father. ‘Go and make disciples’. Go take what you have received and pass it on.
How do we make a disciple?
Go and make ‘disciples’ in the Strong’s is from ‘mathetes’ – to become a pupil, to enrol as a scholar. We are to have pupils in the school of what we ourselves have received. Christians make much of evangelism. We understand we are to ‘tell others the good news’, but what of investing that time to enrol ‘pupils’ and train them in the way of Christ? Do we not tend to pass them onto the church and see this as the church’s responsibility? As I write I am working these issues through myself. None of us can attest to having all this present and correct in our own lives. So how we do make a disciple exactly?
We make a disciple primarily be being a disciple ourselves. We ourselves need to be in the school of the life of Christ – of being trained in His Words. The whole bible is useful. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honourably with personal integrity and moral courage].
Discipleship was to be far more simple
But when Jesus spoke these Words before He ascended, the people did not have a Bible. All they had was the Torah of the Old Testament (and would not have had one in every home as we have) and the testimony of Jesus’ Words. The complete Bible was not put together until 400 years later. So Jesus must have expected them to make disciples based on their testimony of His Words and of His outworking in their lives. So discipleship was to be far more simple than we make it out to be.
In the rest of this last commission from Christ He tells us how to do it: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, Matt 28:18.
He has all power
Henry says – The commission which our Lord Jesus received Himself from the Father, He was about to authorise to His apostles. All power, He says, is given to Me in heaven and in earth. None but He could say this. In this, He asserts His universal dominion as Mediator, which is the great foundation of the Christian religion. He has all power. This power was given to Him, He was legally entitled to it by a grant from Him who is the Fountain of all being, and consequently of all power. God set Him King (Ps. 2:6 Yet as for Me, I have anointed and firmly installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain), inaugurated and enthroned Him, (Luke 1:32 He will be great and eminent and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David).
Jesus had this power given him over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as were given him (John 17:2), for the more effectual completing of our salvation. He had power before, power to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority and the power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home). But now all power is given Him.
Christ is the sole Monarch
He is now going to receive for Himself a kingdom (Luke 19:12), to sit down at the right hand, (Ps. 110:1 The Lord (Father) says to my Lord (the Messiah, His Son), “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet [subjugating them into complete submission]). Having purchased it, nothing remains but to take possession; it is His own forever.
Christ is the sole Monarch, he is Lord of all, Acts 10:36. He has all power in heaven, dominion over the angels who are all his humble servants, (Eph. 1:20, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion [whether angelic or human], and [far above] every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and world but also in the one to come). He has power of intercession with his Father, in the virtue of His atonement.
All souls are His
He has all power on earth too. By the sacrifice of the atonement, he triumphs with men and deals with them as one having authority. He is indeed, in all causes and over all persons, supreme Moderator and Governor. All souls are His, and to him, every heart and knee must bow, and every tongue confess Him to be the Lord.
He gives them the commission – Go ye therefore. It is not only a word of command, like ‘Son, go work’, but a word of encouragement, ‘Go, and fear not, have I not sent you?’ Go, and make a business of this work. As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, to excite them to fly (Deut. 32:11), so Christ stirs up His disciples, to disperse themselves over all the world.
Whoever will, let him come
It is further given to their successors, the ministers of the gospel, whose business it is to transmit the gospel from age to age, to the end of the world. The salvation they were to preach is common to all – whoever will let him come.
The principal intention of this commission is to disciple all nations. Matheteusate—“Admit them disciples. Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, setting up a school, bring the nations to be his scholars.
First, They must admit disciples by the rite of baptism; “wash them with water;” either dipping them in the water, or pouring or sprinkling water upon them, which is the thing is most frequently expressed as Isa. 44:3 For I will pour out water on him who is thirsty and, Ezek. 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you.
The first principles of the Christian religion
This baptism must be administered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Ghost. Everything is sanctified by prayer, and particularly the waters of baptism. The prayer of faith obtains the presence of God. This is the first principles of the Christian religion, and of the new covenant. By our being baptized we confess our belief that there is a God, that there is but one God, that in the Godhead there is a Father that begets a Son and a Holy Spirit.
This is the full proof of the three persons in the Trinity, both in the Christian baptism here and in the Christian blessing (2 Cor. 13:14). In baptism, we renounce the world and the flesh, as rivals with God for the throne in our hearts. It is an oath of allegiance, by which we resign and give up ourselves to God, to be His. With our whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, to be governed by His will and made happy in His favour.
The duty of disciples
Those that are baptized, and enrolled among the disciples of Christ, must be taught (Matt. 28:20); ‘Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you’. This denotes the duty of disciples, of all baptized Christians. That we must observe all things that Christ has commanded.
To observe all things, that He has commanded, without exception. We must stand complete in His whole will. The duty of us as His ministers is to train up others, till we all come to the perfect man. , Eph. 4:11-13. The heirs of heaven, till they come to age, must be under tutors and governors.
I am with you always
Christ gives the assurance of His spiritual presence in the execution of this commission – I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. This exceeding great and precious promise is ushered in to strengthen their faith. “My Spirit is with you, the Comforter shall abide with you, John 16:7. I am with you, and not against you. With you to take your part, to be on your side, and to hold with you, as Michael our prince is said to do, Dan. 10:21. I am with you, and not absent from you, not at a distance; I am a very present help,” Ps. 46:1.
Christ was now sending them to set up his kingdom in the world, which was a great undertaking. And He promises to carry them on through the difficulties they were likely to meet with. “I am with you, to bear you up, to plead your cause; with you in all your services, in all your sufferings, to bring you through them with comfort and honour. When you go through the fire or water, I will be with you. I am with you, to make your ministry effectual for the discipling of the nations, for the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan, and the setting up of stronger ones for the Lord Jesus.
They shall have his perpetual presence
They shall have his perpetual presence, even to the end of the world. There is a world before us, that will never have an end. There is a divine power going along with the scripture of the New Testament, not only preserving them in being, but producing strange effects by them, which will continue to the end of time.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
I Go before Do not be afraid I go before, I am the key To unlock the door You must never doubt As you walk each day, I go ahead To prepare the way. I measure each step There’s no need to creep, Cast down your nets Launch out into the deep. Step out with Me I am your Guide Seek My truth Deep down inside. Walk in joyful freedom Prepared to play your part See My love and care As I soften the hardened heart. I supply wisdom and strength I nourish the starving crops, Walk with Me along the paths That lead to the mountain tops. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, may I be a great disciple of You and go on to bring make many disciples for You. For this is the true call of us all. That we would bring many sons and daughters to Glory. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.