Good Shepherd Lutheran

Go Make Disciples – Matthew 28:16-20
“Make disciples of all nations,” means all of us are invited to follow Jesus, no matter who we are, where we’re from, what we once believed, or what we’ve done.
But how do we make disciples? How do we make someone like Jesus? Do we simply say a prayer and all of a sudden – POOF! – they’re like Jesus? No, we all know that doesn’t happen.
Verses 19 and 20 include two words that tell us something about what it takes to make disciples.
The first word is “baptizing”. “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” A disciple is a anyone who publicly confirms that they have turned from sin in order to embrace Jesus as Lord.
Baptism is a one-time event that points to the moment a person first hears the gospel, the good news of Christ, and then responds in faith, in order to become a follower of Jesus. It’s an outward expression of inward faith.
But does that mean these disciples, emerging from the waters of baptism, were like their teacher in every respect? No, because there’s more to it. Look at the next part of that sentence, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
The nature of discipleship is not about automatic imitation of the teacher. It’s about learning. The work of making disciples is about teaching these baptized followers of Jesus about what it means to follow him according to the instructions Jesus gave us.
So if baptism points us to that moment of conversion, to that point in time in when you go from ‘follower of the world’ to ‘follower of Jesus’, then the work of teaching reminds us that making disciples, is a process.
So, making disciples is about finding faith and following in faith. It’s about birth and growth. It’s about opening a door and then walking the path.
So, how are you making disciples for Jesus? If we’re really Christians, shouldn’t we be responding to this charge he gave us?
We can only imagine the questions and fears and doubts that the disciples must have had when Jesus told them to “go”. I think we all have similar feelings, and we need to admit the truth: Making disciples isn’t something that we can do all on our own. This isn’t a mission we can carry out through our own strength and wisdom.
But we don’t have to. Verse 18 says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Verse 20 says: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The power and presence of the risen Jesus gives us the strength and ability to complete the work he’s called us to do.