Jesus’ Disciples · Making Disciples · For God’s Glory
“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.”
Jesus commissions Christians to “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.”
This raises a fundamental question. What does it actually mean to be a “disciple” of Jesus? If we are going to make disciples, we need to know what that is.
“A disciple of Jesus is a worshiper, a servant, and a witness.”
The standard definition of “disciple” (noun) is someone who adheres to the teachings of another. It is a follower or a learner. It refers to someone who takes up the ways of someone else. Applied to Jesus, a disciple is someone who learns from Him to live like Him — someone who, because of God’s awakening grace, conforms his or her words and ways to the words and ways of Jesus. Or, you might say, as others have put it in the past, disciples of Jesus are themselves “little Christs”.
Depending on who you ask, you might find a wide variety of interpretations when it comes to what it actually means to “make disciples.” Most churches today take it as a command to evangelise the entire world — to lead people to faith and repentance in every corner of the world and spread the gospel as far as possible.
There certainly is an evangelistic aspect to Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19-20. At Gregory Hills Anglican, we are keen to share the good news of Jesus with Gregory Hills, The Hermitage, and indeed the entire Macarthur region. We long to see a flood of disciples in South-West Sydney living for Jesus and praising His name.
Whilst acknowledging the evangelistic aspect of Jesus’ command, His instructions go beyond just spreading the gospel. The word translated as “make disciples” carries more meaning than to just simply accumulate converts. It communicates the idea of a “learning believer” — someone who is growing in his/her faith and his/her love for the Lord.
Christ’s words don’t emphasise the moment of salvation but the lifetime of sanctification that follows. Jesus made the same point in John 8:31 when He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” It’s the difference between a one-time profession of faith and a lifetime of spiritual growth and increasing godliness.
We long to see many more people become disciples of Jesus, and we also long to see disciples of Jesus growing in their maturity as His disciples, for we long to see God given the glory He rightly deserves.
For God’s Glory
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6.
“For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:36.