Matthew 28:19-20

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
For many years, I had a love-hate relationship with the last two verses of Matthew 28. I loved Jesus but hated the Great Commission for a number of what I considered very good reasons. For one thing, our family's circumstances made discipling the nations all but impossible for almost fifty years. For another, my body's not strong enough to go around dunking full grown men and women. And with my career in public education, the elementary school curriculum leaned toward math, reading, science, and social studies and wasn't focused on Jesus and his commandments. How was I supposed to fulfill the great commission in circumstances like those?      

Unknowingly, as happens to many Christ followers, I had twisted the Great Commission and made it all about me. My circumstances. My weaknesses. My human power. My limited vision.  

However, the Great Commission isn’t about me or you or anybody else. The Great Commission is about Jesus. Certainly, God uses believers to make, baptize, and teach new disciples. In fact, He commands us to do those things. And He expects us to begin right where we are. Because if we can’t obey His command within our families, at work, or in our neighborhoods–no matter how limiting those circumstances may be–how can we possibly obey His Great Commission in countries where we can’t speak the language, don’t like the food, and where the bathrooms sport bidets instead of toilet paper?

God has placed us in the middle of a pandemic and a nationwide call for racial justice for many reasons. He desires that we obey His command to make disciples where we are now, while He simultaneously equips us for future circumstances He alone can see. When we understand that His ways are better than our ways, we can love both Jesus and the Great Commission. We can live for Jesus, love like Jesus, and share His truth with the hurting people right here, right now. We can lean into His power at work through us and accept His heavenly vision as superior to our limited, earthly one.

Most of all, when we faithfully obey His commands in the here and now, we can expect Him to equip us for the future–in our present community, in a different town or state, or in all the nations. We can move into that future with confidence in His promise to be with us always in every pursuit, to the end of our lives, to the end of the age, and for eternity. What’s not to love about that?
Jolene Philo | Author

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