Matthew 28:19 is my 20th verse for 2015. The Seeds Family Worship song is “Go,” track 7 on “The Power of Encouragement.” The 1984 NIV used in the Seeds song is the same as the 2011 NIV, and here is the verse:
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
This is a very clear command from Jesus, and also some of his last words to his followers before his ascension into heaven. So we need to pay attention.
Jesus told his followers in verse 18 that, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and that is what the “therefore” in verse 19 refers back to. Disciple-making and baptizing may look different to different believers, and there is some room for discussion and study on this verse, but if all we do is read and discuss this verse, we miss the point.
The point is to GO! And not in our own faltering strength, but on the authority given to Jesus by God the Father. There is little room for excuses with this command, but we sure like to make them up anyway. We turn “making disciples” into a complicated science rather than a practice of seeing others and sharing with them about who Jesus is. I know I have made my fair share of excuses like, “I don’t know where to go” (I can start where I already am) or, “I don’t know what to say” (I should share from my heart in obedience to the Spirit) or, “Maybe I’m not the right person to make disciples” (I never know the part I might be playing in God’s plan, so I need to obey). But if we are followers of Jesus, filled with the Spirit and rooted in God’s Word, we can and must share the truth. It will take practice, but God’s perfect power is there to help us grow in this skill. God doesn’t give us commands without providing the help to obey!
I want to share the verses surrounding Matthew 28:19 for a little context as I wrap up my thoughts for the week:
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.”
We don’t need to hesitate, we don’t need to overthink it (although thinking is important), and we don’t need to be afraid or unsure. We can take comfort and find encouragement in Jesus’ authority and his promise to be with us. I find the words “make disciples” empowering, because I’m used to thinking of myself as merely a vessel through which the power of God can work if I will allow it. And that is partly true, but I think I shortchange myself sometimes. Jesus simply said, “Go and make disciples.” Because of Jesus’ authority, this is a work I can participate in if I will just GO!
How does this verse encourage YOU?
p.s. it’s just as true for children as adults! Below is a cute coloring page and some more goodies for home or Sunday school.