Three Simple Reasons
People look for reasons in the stars or in the aligning of meaningful circumstances or in the arresting power of a miraculous event. In the ministries of local churches and the lives of individual Christians, reasons are necessary. In all this, simple reasons are sometimes overlooked in pursuit of bigger signs. And there is comfort in seeing that simple reasons, written in plain text, are often used by God to awaken and move His people. Consider these three simple reasons for being involved - as churches and Christians - in the work of discipleship, evangelism, and church planting.
Matthew 28:16-20 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “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."
The account of Jesus giving The Great Commission rests as a bookend, closing the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus has risen from the dead. Mary and Mary have found the tomb empty and have reported the surprising news to others. Jesus' opponents have crafted a stolen-body story to quell potential riots and spare the lives of soldiers who were to secure Jesus' corpse. And what transpires next is, well, somewhat anticlimactic.
As The Great Commission nears delivery no stars align. In the moment of commissioning, no miracles are done. The eleven remaining disciples quietly rendezvous with Jesus of Nazareth. On a mountain in Galilee a former Carpenter is worshiped. A few miles away, the town bustles. Millers mill. Farmers farm. Children play. As the world moves on, eleven men and God huddle under Mediterranean trees, talking about a great commission. In Matthew 28:16-20, we read for ourselves the simple reasons Jesus gave, in word and deed.
Initiative v18a - "And Jesus came up..." - Jesus' initiative in all matters of life and providence compels His people to the Great Commission. Jesus Christ is again and again the First Mover. He creates. He orders. He enters our world and delivers our lives. And here in the moment of commissioning, Jesus "came up." He approaches the disciples.
Speech v18b - "...and spoke to them, saying..." - Jesus' words, spoken in perfect tone and excellence, is the medium by which the Great Commission is delivered to the disciples. Jesus spoke to them. Words which were used to calm seas, heal the sick, preach the gospel, and even make the world; these very words propel the good news throughout the world.
Authority v18c - "All authority has been given to Me..." - Jesus' authority ensure the victory of His charge. He commissions His disciples with authority that will not fail; an authority that instills hope, encourages courage, secures salvation; authority unmatched and unrivaled.
God 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.
Do you need reasons to make disciples, to proclaim the good news of grace, to give your life in the work of gospel-centered churches? Three simple reasons were given on a hillside in Israel. Jesus has entered your world, spoken truth into your heart and life, and with divine authority He has already commissioned you to participate in the covenant promises.
For those who - as churches or individual Christians - are considering your place in the Great Commission, we welcome more conversation. The NACPF is here to help. Contact us by phone or email to learn more about getting moving in the planting of healthy churches. Learn more about UNITE CONFERENCE 2014.