- (via hopeinthemidst)
So I was asked to teach Sunday School this week for the high school girls at my church and was so excited to hear that this week is all about the Great Commission. I was handed a packet of materials that I presumed would be helpful, but pretty much 2 out of the 10 pages were actually about the text… gotta love Sunday School teaching material… Anyway, every time I read this text, I always notice something new and exciting and just wanted to share :)
v. 17- “When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted.”
I think it’s kind of interesting that we see the 11 disciples (Judas died a morbid death, etc.) here where they are all worshipping Jesus, probably because they are pretty surprised that He was for real, yet some of them still doubt. I mean, they have seen some really amazing stuff and yet they still doubt. I can’t knock them too much on this front because I would most likely do the same thing, but it is really awesome to know that Jesus never gave up on them. He was never like “The three of you just can’t get it through your thick skulls that I’m legit? Seriously?” and that means EVERYTHING! He is the epitome of patience and love and that gives me so much hope. No matter what, He is always with His children, trying to guide us and waiting until we get it right. Love it!
v. 18- “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’ “
Now, Jesus is declaring who He is and His victory over death and sin. He has ripped the earth from the clutches of satan and can boldly say that everything is His. Once again, soooo comforting. This sets up the next verse by establishing His authority.
v. 19- ” ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,’ “
Christ has just established that He has all authority in verse 18, and now He uses that to substantiate His command to His children in verse 19. He tells us that while we are going (the word we translate as “go” literally translates to “going” or “as you go”- it is a word in action), we are to make disciples. So, we have:
1. We are to go. We are to be in the process of going. And what can stop us? Nothing
2. We are to make disciples of all nations
Now, I think that too often we think of international mission trips as the option of choice here, but would we be disappointed if Christ told us to stay within the borders of our country? Our state? Our city? You don’t have to leave your city or town to make disciples of all nations, especially here in America. It is called a melting pot after all. Just something to think about. We are to disciple believers just as Christ discipled the 12 (11 of which were legitimate disciples of His). Discipleship is something that is overlooked a lot in churches and ministries and life as a Christian in general. We need to incorporate discipleship into our lives, but that doesn’t mean that we need to have 1,000 disciples (though, I guess Christ might lead you to do that… perhaps). Jesus poured Himself into 12 men.
3. We are to baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- I almost see this as more of a doctrinal point, seeing as Jesus describes the unity of the trinity, yet the distinction between the three. Either way, baptism = important
v. 20- ” ‘…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen”
4. We are to teach those we disciple all the things that Christ commanded His disciples
I think that we don’t focus too much on this part, yet it is so important. If we don’t teach those we disciple, we would basically have a church full of rampant babies. There would be little leadership and instruction, and the process of discipleship would stop with that ‘generation’. I mean, how do you know what discipleship even means unless you are taught what it means and how Jesus did it?
Finally, I love how Jesus ends this big, massive, intimidating command with reassurance. He reminds us that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He reminds us that we are not alone during the fulfillment of this command, nor do we have to rely on our own words or strength. He is with us always.
If we are so concerned about equality, then let’s address the thousands of people dying every day from no water, dirty water, starvation, and disease first.
- Shane Claiborne
I have noticed a shift in the language used in the world lately that has startled me a bit. I’ve heard conversations where someone experiences something unfortunate and the other person comments “Oh, I pray that he/she pulls out of this quickly” or I will hear of a tragic event and I will tweet or post a Facebook status along the lines of “Praying for all those involved in [fill in the blank]”. There is nothing inherently wrong with either one of these responses, but I’ve noticed, especially with myself, that I am far more likely to use the word ‘pray’ as a synonym for ‘hope’ than as an action that requires a prompt, unique response.
My convictions on this subject were reinforced while reading the preface of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It is here that Lewis explains the shift in the meaning of a word that ultimately renders it useless. His best example is that of the word gentleman. When first coined, gentleman implied that a man had a coat of arms and landed property. It was only later that the meaning of the word shifted to a synonym for kind, well-mannered, well-behaved, or chivalrous. By stripping the word of its intended meaning, the word essentially becomes meaningless, meaning its unique definition is rendered void. Of course, the original definition may remain in the dictionary, but if the word gentleman is used in conversation, the second definition is far more likely assumed.
It is this shift that I see beginning with words in the Christian realm, so to speak. Lewis pointed out the shift in the word ‘Christian’ in his book, and I am now seeing a shift in the usage of ‘pray’. ’Pray’ is more commonly used as a synonym for hope than for its original meaning (that is, outside of a church). I have to wonder why this shift has begun. Perhaps it is laziness mixed with an attempt to be praised as a kind, caring person. This new definition conveys a “heartfelt” yet actionless sentiment that seems to be more appealing nowadays than actually taking problems and situations to the almighty God. And I am guilty as charged.
My convictions on this topic are completely reinforced and I know that it is a struggle that I have. When I use ‘pray’ instead of hope, I am either 1) rendering ‘pray’ into a meaningless word, or 2) lying through my teeth. I guess it could be both. My goal is to use ‘pray’ as a word that requires action and to not forget what the word truly means. When I talk about praying for someone or something, I want to make sure that I have prayed about it before I talked about praying about it. I know that prayer is something that I do not do nearly enough in my everyday life, and I need to change that. Like, now.