Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping other disciples to teach others as well. (Ch. 1, Discipleship Essentials, p. 17)
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
A thought for today:
Jesus gives clear direction for the mission of the Church in Matthew 28:16-20, and the means for each of His followers in Mark 8:34-38. In the Matthew passage, we see the situation of the Church at that time; the eleven comprised the Church. They were following and worshipping Jesus as best they could despite their varying degrees of faith, and the doubts they had. In the midst of this, Jesus gives them His mission for them: “Go” – you are called to move from where you are to where I am sending you. This will be a literal movement for some(or some of us at times), and a figurative movement of where we are in our heart, intellect and spirit at other times. And then there is the command, of what to do as you go: make disciples of every sort of person, “all nations” in Jesus’ time meant people groups, clans and tribes, it referred most often to people who were not like them(us). He said baptize them in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the three-person one God. He said teach them. Too often we baptize and perhaps even confirm, but do we continue to stay in relationship so the good stuff of teaching, mentoring through more than words, but doing life together will have an effect on these folks who are different from us? And finally the promise: we don’t have to do any of this on our own power, abilities or even natural inclinations. We have Jesus available to us in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to guide, empower and bless us through this. And we need this because it is against our fallen human nature to step outside ourselves, be generous, sacrificial and relational with people different from us. But we need not fear. Jesus’ call to us is for his joy and ultimately our true joy as well. My friends, please join with us this Lent as we will press into scripture to better understand what discipleship, following Jesus, is about in the place and season God has placed us. That we will more fully know Him, and more fully make him known. To Him be the honor and glory, now and always, amen.
by Joe Acanfora