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Making Disciples: The Focus of Mission

MONDAY October 9

Making Disciples: The Focus of Mission

Read Matthew 28:16–20. What elements of discipleship can you identify in this passage?

Matthew 28:16–20 declares the biblical mandate, commonly identified as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20), in which Jesus instructs His followers to move outward and make disciples, teaching them in faith, and initiating them into fellowship (see also Mark 16:15, 16; Luke 24:44–49; John 20:21–23; Acts 1:8).

The basic components of Matthew 28:16–20 can be seen in four simple aspects: (1) Jesus commands His disciples to go to Galilee to be with Him (Matt. 28:16, 17); (2) Jesus comes to them, declaring His authority and sovereignty (Matt. 28:18); (3) Jesus then commissions His disciples to a specific task—namely, make disciples—(Matt. 28:19, 20); and finally, (4) Jesus promises to be with His disciples until the end (Matt. 28:20).

Disciple-making is the primary focus of the Great Commission, and the main task of mission. Literally, in the original Greek language, the beginning of Matthew 28:19 says, “Having gone, therefore, make disciples [. . .]” The “therefore” gives to the commission its foundation on what has just been presented (Matt. 28:18): Jesus’ power, authority, and sovereignty—all these coming from the victory attained in His resurrection.

It is important to highlight that the only action verb with imperative force in the Great Commission is “make disciples.” Teaching everyone, baptizing them, and sharing Jesus’ teachings to the whole world are the characteristics of the discipleship process. Here Jesus is clearly directing His disciples toward one purpose: making disciples. This is indeed one of the greatest mission passages in all of Scripture. It ends with Jesus’ promise of continuous presence with His followers.

Obviously, the Great Commission was intended to be for more than just the first disciples gathered in that particular circumstance. They could not go to “all nations” by themselves in order to fulfill the new given mission of making disciples. Therefore, the commission is universal in its scope: every true follower of Jesus Christ should be engaged in disciple-making. Furthermore, the message to be conveyed—the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ—is intended for the whole world, with no geographical, social, or ethnic limitations.

The mission is to “make disciples.” How is this mandate of the Master affecting how you live and minister to others? What can you do to be more involved in what you have been called to do?

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