Key Passage: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Today’s passage gives the final instructions of Jesus, “Go…and make disciples.” In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we need to answer two questions, “Who is a disciple?” And, “What is the aim of discipleship?”
In order to make disciples, we must first be His disciples. Within the Great Commission, Jesus also describes His true disciples. First, they possess His Spirit, which is why Jesus said, “I am with you always.” Next, they publicly identify with the death and resurrection of Christ through baptism. And, they obey His commands and follow His teachings.
Sadly though, many professing believers don’t pursue personal discipleship. But we fall short if we view the Great Commission as evangelism only. That’s like rejoicing over the birth of a baby, then never teaching that child how to function in the world. The aim of discipleship is to develop a personal walk with the Lord that transforms us into His nature. This conformity to Jesus Christ is what identifies us as His followers.
Every Christ follower has the responsibility of disciple-making; showing others how to follow Jesus. The Apostle Paul perfectly demonstrated the aim of discipleship when he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11 NIV.) The Holy Spirit teaches, convicts, and comforts us from God’s Word. We simply pass along what we’ve learned to someone else. That’s discipleship.
So, if you’ve been saved and call yourself a Christian, are you following Him? His invitation remains, “Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19.) How are you intentionally developing a personal walk with the Lord that increasingly transforms you into His nature? Salvation is a one-time experience. But biblical discipleship is the life-long pursuit of following Jesus Christ. And, you’re commissioned to go and make other disciples.