Faith column:“Each One Reach One”
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
— Matthew 28: 19-20
The Great Commission: Jesus commissioned His followers. He commissioned not only the eleven apostles, but all who were present, more than five hundred disciples. However, I need you to note something of crucial importance. It was impossible for that generation to reach the whole world in its lifetime. Each One Reach One! Therefore, the commission given to the first generation of believers extends beyond to all generations of believers. The very same charge given to them is given to us. Our Lord charges us with the very same words, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations. . ..” I am reminded that I have a charge to keep — I have a God to Glorify! Who gave His Son my soul to save, and fit it for the sky?
Reflecting upon the text we recognize that the Lord’s commission was threefold:
• He commissioned us to “go ye . . . and make disciples of all nations.”
• He commissioned us to baptize all nations.
• He commissioned us to teach all that Christ had commanded.
This is one of the crucial verses in the Bible: “go ye . . . and make disciples of all nations.” No verse is more important for genuine believers. Teaching and baptizing are not enough to reach the world for Christ. Both are important, and Christ commissions both, but He says something else must precede both. That is discipleship. Each One Reach One! “Go ye therefore and metheteusate all nations” (Mt. 28:19). Metheteusate means to make disciples. This verse accurately reads, “Go ye therefore, ‘make disciples’ of all nations…” Most messages that are preached on this passage stress the objective of our Lord, the reaching of all nations as, though this is what our Lord had in mind. There is no question that the great commission is what Christ had in mind. He has instructed us to go to all nations and evangelize them. But there is the strong conviction that He had more than this objective in mind, more than just an overriding purpose — much more.
What did He do? Christ “came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He sought the lost, those who were willing to commit their lives to Him. And when He found such a person, He saved that person.
When Christ found a person who was willing to commit his life, Christ attached Himself to that person. Christ began to make and mold that person into His image. The word attach is the key word. It is probably the word that best describes discipleship.
Christ made disciples of men by attaching Himself to them; and through that personal attachment, they were able to observe His life in conversation; and in seeing and hearing, they began to absorb and assimilate His very character and behavior.
They began to follow Him and to observe Him more closely. In simple terms, this is what our Lord did. This is the way He made disciples. This was His mission and His method, His obsession: to attach Himself to willing believers.
There is another way to describe what Christ did.
Christ envisioned something beyond Himself and beyond His day and time. He envisioned an extension of Himself, and extension of His very being and an extension of His mission and method.
I pray that you envision yourself as an extension of Christ’s ministry and that you are willing to disciple others who need to know Christ in the pardoning of their sins.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Patricia Ann Ray of Shiloh Baptist Church.