Verse of the Day Devotion: Mark 16:15 And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Forty days after Jesus was raised from the dead and just prior to His ascension, Jesus commands His disciples to continue the work He started. This was the commission given to them by their sovereign Lord. “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. They were called to tell the world about the good news that Christ Himself came to bring, but now that He is going back to the Father, He has passed this important task onto His disciples. Matthew brings more clarity to this calling. “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. In this devotion, I will be combining the writings in order to completely cover what Jesus told them.
As stated above, I will be combining Mark’s version and Matthew’s in order to fully understand what Jesus commanded them. Both were given the same calling at the same times Both write they are to go into all the world. Not just to the Jewish nations, but to all people throughout the world. Mark writes they are to preach the Gospel throughout all the world. Matthew takes it a step further and writes they are to make disciples of all the nations. To preach the gospel was to declare the truth of Christ. However, those who accept the message need to be discipled; trained in order to fully understand the message given to them as well as to their complete calling. A disciple is in essence a follower or student of a teacher, leader of philosopher. It comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “student”, which is derived from the Latin root word discere meaning “to learn”. This goes beyond simply presenting a truth to someone, but to help by training them to fully understand their calling from Christ.
In my former days as a computer programmer, there were times when I was assigned to help train a new programmer in our applications as well as how we went through the programming process; from writing specifications to coding, then to testing and ultimately implementation. I was, in a sense, discipling them so they could understand the complete process from beginning to end and be able to carry it out. This is basically what Jesus is calling us to do. To start by presenting the truth to them so they can understand it and accept the calling Christ has given us all. However, knowing the truth is only the beginning. They must then be trained regarding God’s calling to Christians and how to live it out. Each of the disciples of Christ accepted the calling, however, they went through three years of being discipled by Jesus to fully understand what was expected of them and how to live it out.
Jesus told His disciples to make disciples. What was meant in this was to have an unending line of disciples making disciples who make disciples who will then make disciples. Leading someone to Christ is simply the beginning. After that, they must be taught the full meaning of what it means to be a follower of Christ and how to live it out. Then, they can go out and do the same. You may not be in a position to actually be the one who teaches them. However, you can lead them to another who is willing and able to take on this role. The point here is that everyone who accepts Christ must be taught what this decision actually means. It is not simply acceptance of Christ as Savior, but also as Lord, and to live this life out to the fullest. This is what Jesus did for His disciples, and it is what He intended for His disciples to do, all the way down in time to us.
It is important to understand that we are not alone in this. Jesus told them as the last part of His call to them that they would not be alone. “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. Jesus said He would be with us to the very end of the age of our lives here on earth. We can always go to Him for assistance in this endeavor. He will not leave or forsake us. Always remember to call out to Him when you need help, and He will provide the assistance you need.
In closing, I want to encourage us all to reach out to all we come across who need to hear the truth concerning the gospel of Christ. We must take whatever time we need to present it in a clear and understandable way. And, if they receive it, encourage them to be trained in the fullness of what this life is truly about. It can be us, or someone else we know who can take on this responsibility. However, it should be someone we trust to fulfill this role. We must remember that living the Christian life as we are called to do, is the most important decision we can make, for it has eternal implications. Helping new born Christians to fully understand what it means to be a Christian is vital in their growth, and their ability to take the next step in making disciples themselves. So many more people can be reached for Christ if we follow this model. My email can be found below, and if you have any questions regarding how you can proceed to become a disciple who makes disciples who make disciples, let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in whatever way needed. It would be my pleasure to help you in this.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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