In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 28, Verses 19-20, we find the essence of the Christian mission encapsulated in what is commonly known as the Great Commission. Jesus, after His resurrection, imparts a profound mandate to His disciples, instructing them to go and “make disciples of all nations”.
These two verses have been the rallying cry for Christian outreach and ministry for centuries, driving the expansion of Christianity to every corner of the globe. But what exactly does it mean to “make disciples who make disciples”?
The Great Commission: a divine mandate
Matthew 28:19-20 reads: “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.” These words, spoken by Jesus Himself, serve as a divine mandate for all believers. They outline not just the call to evangelize and convert but to engage in a transformative process of disciple-making.
Conversion: The Great Commission begins with the call to “go”. It’s a call to action, a summons to take the message of Jesus to every corner of the world. At its core, this is the call to conversion. It is through this step that individuals are introduced to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and are invited to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.
Baptism: Baptism is a significant symbol of initiation into the Christian faith. In the words of Jesus, we are called to baptise new believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It represents a public declaration of faith and a commitment to follow Christ.
Teaching and discipleship: The Great Commission doesn’t stop at conversion. It emphasizes the importance of teaching new disciples to “obey everything I have commanded you”. This is where the concept of “making disciples” comes into play. Discipleship is a lifelong journey of growth, learning, and obedience to Christ’s teachings. It involves studying the Bible, prayer, and living out the Christian faith.
“Making disciples who make disciples”
So, what does it mean to “make disciples who make disciples”? It goes beyond the initial steps of conversion and baptism. It involves a profound commitment to the process of discipleship, with the ultimate goal of multiplication.
Multiplication: Making disciples is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. Mature disciples are called not only to grow themselves but also to replicate the process by mentoring and discipling others. This multiplication effect is what sets the Great Commission apart. It’s a call to be spiritual parents, nurturing and guiding others in their faith journey.
Imagine a world where every believer took this commission to heart, not only growing in their own faith but actively investing in the lives of others. The ripple effect would be extraordinary, as each disciple becomes a disciple-maker, and the cycle continues. This is what it means to “make disciples who make disciples”.
Community and accountability: Discipleship is rarely a solitary endeavour. It flourishes within the context of a Christian community. In this community, disciples can find support, encouragement, and accountability. They can share their experiences, ask questions, and learn from one another. Together, they become a powerful force for making disciples.
Mission and outreach: As disciples grow in their faith, they are also called to engage in mission and outreach efforts. They are encouraged to share their faith with others and invite them into the disciple-making process. This outward focus is an essential part of fulfilling the Great Commission.
The impact of “making disciples who make disciples”
When we take the Great Commission seriously and commit ourselves to “making disciples who make disciples”, incredible things happen.
Spiritual Growth: Discipleship deepens our understanding of God’s Word, strengthens our relationship with Him, and helps us become more Christ-like. This growth not only benefits us individually but also equips us to disciple others effectively.
Multiplication: As disciples make more disciples, the reach of the Gospel expands exponentially. What starts as a small group of believers can quickly grow into a thriving community of faith.
Transformation of lives: The power of disciple-making lies in its capacity to transform lives. When we invest in others, we witness the incredible changes that occur as they encounter Christ and grow in their faith.
Global impact: The Great Commission’s call to reach “all nations” challenges us to think beyond our local communities. By making disciples who make disciples, we contribute to the global spread of Christianity.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives us more than just a mission; He gives us a strategy for fulfilling that mission. “Making disciples who make disciples” is not merely a slogan; it’s a profound approach to living out the Great Commission. It challenges us to be active participants in the transformative process of faith, not only for ourselves but for others as well.
As we embrace this calling, let us remember that the impact of disciple-making goes far beyond our individual efforts. It’s about joining a movement that has been in motion for over two millennia—a movement fuelled by love, guided by faith, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It’s a movement that continues to change lives, communities, and nations.
So, let us heed the call of the Great Commission with renewed passion and commitment. Let us strive to be disciples who make disciples, for in doing so, we participate in a divine mission that has the power to change the world—one transformed life at a time.
Republished from Christian Today UK.