Last week we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The death and resurrection of Jesus is not only the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy, but it is the linchpin for a new relationship with God and His people.
In other words, Resurrection Sunday is a big deal! It changes everything, but in the words of those info commercials: “Wait there is more!” We often have a tendency to stop the narrative of Jesus’s time on Earth at the resurrection. However, the Gospels reveal that Jesus left His most powerful message to the end of His earthly ministry.
Matthew, Luke and Mark close with some version of the Great Commission. The last instruction of Jesus to go out into the world and make disciples, while spreading the good news of salvation. Let’s examine how Matthew records the Great Commission from Jesus:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)
The Great Commission is the bases of sharing the Gospel, and making new disciples of Christ through evangelism and missionary work. The Great Commission also creates an assumption, and a demand that those who are carrying out the work of the Great Commission are also disciples of Christ.
Now that would seem that it is a “no brainer,” if you are making disciples, you must be a disciple. Regardless of how simple it may seem, I would suggest from personal experience that it is not true. For many years although, I have always been a member of the church, doing the work of Lord, I was not a disciple.
The New World Dictionary defines a disciple as a learner who submits to discipline, or one who becomes a disciplined learner.
Jesus, in Luke 14:25, explains that discipleship for Christ goes farther than submitting to discipline, and becoming a disciplined learner. Being a disciple for Christ involves a greater relationship, a greater calling and a greater commitment. Being a disciple for Christ involves an ongoing cost.
- A disciple must be willing to forsake family, friends and even life itself to follow Jesus
- A disciple must be willing to lay down his life in following Jesus (Luke 14:26).
A disciple must consider the cost of being a disciple of Jesus (Luke 14:27).
This weekend the church where I pastor kicked off our family movie night with the feature “Hidden Figures.” The movie is the true story of three brilliant African-American Women who were the unknown brains behind the United States Space Program.
Like many African-Americans in the Jim Crow South, the women of Hidden Figures – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – endured the hardships of racisms, sexism and unequal pay as the cost for their achievement as pioneers in the U.S. Space Program.
The message is clear; Jesus paid the price for our sins, and the expectation is clear – we must pay the cost being a disciple.
While there is a cost for discipleship, we can gain much comfort because the Great Commission stresses that we are not in this fight alone. Just before His accession to Heaven, Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I don’t know about you but the opportunity to always have Jesus with us is worth the cost. Therefore the question that the Great Commission is asking all of us is simply this: Are you a disciple?