16-17: "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw Him, the worshiped Him; but some doubted." - A key to discipleship is the ability to recognize and believe in the Risen Lord. This is not necessarily a step easily taken. However, we should find comfort that we are not alone in our doubts.
18: "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to Me.'" - The first step to discipleship is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and our first task is to learn how to live our lives within the range of His effective will.
19-20a: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you " - When our relationship with Christ is established and we have dedicated our lives to His will, we have a task - a task to take His love out into the world. Our spiritual relationship is incomplete without interpersonal relationships.
20b: "And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age." - As we move out into discipleship we find that the Holy Spirit is always with us, enabling, empowering, and inspiring us to bring the Good News of Christ Jesus to the entire world.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you still have doubts?
Have you traveled extensively with Jesus through your studies of His life? Are you familiar with His miracles of healing? Has His teachings brought you insight and inspiration? Are you now standing at a crossroads in your life, still doubting if He is truly the Son of God? Do you realize that you are in good company; that some of His disciples were also uncertain and filled with doubt? What are you going to do about your doubts? Are you going to let them take control of your life or are you going to continue pushing through them in order to find access to God's kingdom and accept Christ's authority?
Are you spreading the Good News? Are you taking steps to move beyond your comfort zone and actively involved in the making "disciples of all nations?" Or do you feel that if you simply live your life in a Christ-like way you are doing enough? Is the job of evangelism for everyone or just for those with unique spiritual gifts? Perhaps you feel that faith is a private issue and should remain as such. Is this a biblically sound stance? How would Jesus respond to this idea or concept? With these verses in mind, why is it that only 7% of Americans consider themselves as evangelical?1 Shouldn't all Christians be evangelical?
Why is spreading the Gospel important? Is it an issue of being on the winning team when the race is done? Perhaps the more people there are that know about Christ the more we can feel positive about our beliefs - do sheer numbers equal righteousness? Is it about God wanting to hear full churches singing praises to Him? If spreading the Gospel is not about our own righteousness and if it has nothing to do with placating God's ego, why is it important? Is it about relationships? Does our relationship with God become defined by our relationships with each other? When we are able to talk about matters of faith with each other are we not only spreading God's influence throughout the world, but also growing in our faith? Promise of the Gospel:
Faith in Christ has very little to do with standing still and soaking in the warmth of His grace. It has everything to do with action. Jesus said to "go and make." He did not say we should "sit and receive." But how are we supposed to do this "going and making" thing? The idea of it fills us with fear and trepidation. We feel we would not know what to say or how to act. But then Jesus said: "And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age." He is not sending us out into the frontiers of evangelism ill-equipped and alone. In fact, we have learned that with the arrival of the Holy Spirit, we "will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside (us)." (John 7:39) We are not designed to be closed vessels simply filled with the spirit of God. His Spirit is to flow from deep inside our hearts and out into the world. With His Spirit flowing and with the Great Commission constantly in our thoughts, our relationships with others become the conduit for experiencing the love and grace of God in our lives.
Glad to see this issue spoken so clearly. Our lives in general ought to be testimonies to Christ's being alive and well. As much as I love to receive and drink in that Living Water, what good does it do "the nations" if I keep what I drink to myself? Well done!