We are in the middle of summer when people are definitely in another rhythm. Camping trips, day trips with the family, days spent at the pool, cookouts, bonfires, yard work, projects to complete before the fall comes, the list goes on. This is what many of our families are doing this summer. Typically we go down in attendance at church because summer is a free for all. It is good to get away and replenish as we can. One of the things that we need to be intentional about is sharing our faith.
Matthew concludes his Gospel with the great commission. They are on a mountain in Galilee where He gave the Sermon on the Mount, where He fed the 5,000, and where he took Peter, James, and John for the transfiguration. He now tells them his last command before He ascends into heaven. It wasn’t stated as a recommendation or a good suggestion, it was a command. Did I forget to say that Galilee was known as the area for the Gentiles? Jesus is sending the disciples on mission to share the Gospel with the lost people who were not one of the chosen Jews.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 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.” Matthew 28:16-20
Matthew added that when they saw Jesus, some worshipped and some doubted. He does not elaborate but you would think that there were more than the disciples there. Jesus knew who was in the crowd but He continued to say the all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. Then it leads Him to call them to go and make disciples. He did not expect them to do it on their own strength but on His. Jesus had the opportunity to receive the kingdoms of the world found in Matthew 4. But Jesus resisted the temptation of the enemy and received authority from the Heavenly Father.
It leads to Jesus calling His disciples to bring the Gentiles into a relationship with God. Jesus says to go and make disciples of the lost Galileans. He is standing and overlooking Galilee. I picture lost people crowding in the streets going on their normal routine. That is where we are called to make disciples. In our everyday, ordinary days. That includes this summer. Jesus goes on to explain what it means to make disciples – baptizing and teaching. Discipleship entails both becoming a Christian (being baptized) and being a Christian (obeying Jesus’ teaching). He concludes by saying, “I am with you always.” The risen Lord who stands over the disciples also stands with them as they embark upon this important mission.
How many people have you shared the life changing story of salvation with this summer? It’s not too late to start. Ask the Lord to show you opportunities to do so. He is faithful and will give you more than you could dream of. He will also give you the words to speak. That’s the kind of God we serve.
Let’s walk faithfully to what God has called us to do as followers of Jesus Christ.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene