Embrace the Vision of Disciple-Making
The greatest need in the entire world is disciple-makers. Don’t believe me? Riddle me this: why would Jesus make the discipling of the 12 the central focus of His brief 3 year ministry. Sometimes in our study of the life of Jesus we are so impressed with His amazing life, His life-altering teachings and His mission of saving mankind that we overlook that He purposefully selected 12 men to be with Him so that He might send them out to change the world. The world was His mission. Men were His method. Disciple-making was His strategy. Still don’t believe me? Two passages shape my thinking here.
Passage One: Matthew 9:35-38
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Passage Two: Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In the first passage, Jesus shows us a world of great need. We live in a world that evokes great compassion but that world doesn’t need government bail-outs but rather it needs workers to be sent. This need for laborers is so important that He commands us to pray for workers to be sent into the harvest. The greatest need in the world is for folks who would be willing to role up their sleeves and get their hands dirty in work of disciplemaking.
The second passage is very insightful in that it is the last major pep talk of Jesus to His men. We glean the inference of the focus of His time with them over the last few years. He had been preparing them to send them out. But His agenda was not primarily a social one (even though everywhere the church has gone social justice has been extended-with some well documented exceptions) rather His agenda was a life transformational one. He sent real live people to impact the lives of real live people. He said it this way: Go and Make Disciples, help them identify with Me publicly (baptism) and teach them to obey My commands.
If you want to make a disciple-maker you must embrace the vision of disciple-making and help them to do likewise.