Verse of the Day Devotion. Matthew 28:19
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
This is a powerful verse that lays out our commission, as Christians. When the eleven remaining disciples saw Jesus they honored Him. However, there were some who still doubted. “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.” Matthew 28:17. Now this does not say when they arrived to where Jesus was, but when they saw Him. From a distance they worshipped Him. Upon seeing Jesus, they immediately worshipped Him, for they knew He died, and seeing Him living again helped them in seeing the truth of His resurrection. Matthew here tells of their doubts showing their honesty, that they did not agree simply to say that he had risen. They only believed when they saw Jesus alive. Their caution in examining the evidence is proof that they were not deceived in regard to the fact of his resurrection. When the saw Him, they fully believed.
And Jesus, knowing where they were and, I am sure, knowing of their doubting, went to them. And He declared His immense authority given to Him. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:17. This authority was given to Him by the Father. And because of this authority, He declares His command to the disciples, which includes our focus verse. “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. Because He has been granted universal authority, He begins by giving these eleven disciples their mission calling. They were to go out and make disciples, as He did when He selected them. Now, this baptism was not of water. John the Baptist said he baptized with water, but not the Messiah. “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11. This baptism was not an outward work, but an inner work. Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way. “Christ’s religion was to be a spiritual religion, and was to have its seat in the heart.”
The disciples were not called to bring men into traditions. They were called to help people understand the reality and purpose of Christ’s work here. And this did not stop at their acceptance of the truth, they were called to ‘make disciples’, not merely to make converts to Christianity, but teach them what it means to be a follower of Christ. This is one of the problems we face today. Many go out and get people to accept Christ, then leave it at that. They do not take the time to train them in the faith. Jesus spent three years training His, therefore we must take more than a few minutes to let them know what being a Christian is about. And too many churches do not take the time to train people. They have their several sermons every week, but do not help people grow in their own understanding of this new life.
In the last verse in this chapter, Jesus tells them to teach everything that He taught them. This is not a simple task that can be completed quickly, for there is much to learn and apply to our lives. This will take time, and He is commanding them to take the same time and attention He did in training them. This is not easy or quick, but it is required in order to help others become strong in their faith. We who are Christians must put forth all the effort we can to teach the truth, all of it and not just the favorable parts. We need to be ready to give loving correction as Jesus did, and also edification to encourage as Jesus did. True believers want to learn and grow in the faith. Unfortunately many so-called churches are falling short of this, preaching, and teaching what people want to hear, not necessarily what they need to hear. This can be difficult but it is our calling. Examine the writings of Paul and see how he taught. This will show how much we truly love Christ and His light will shine forth from us in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.