How about making disciples?
Jerry A Collins
v How close should we be to the work of God?
v Is it true that Jesus was resurrected?
v What does Jesus expect me to do about discipleship?
Some of us like to be where the action is. Whether it is being there when the winning score is made or the candidate for office arrives or giving a helping hand to people in desperate need. Being in the center of the action places us right where we can have firsthand knowledge or make a firsthand contribution if possible. That is where we find Mary Magdalene and the other Mary vs 1 who came to look at the grave of Jesus early in the morning. Simply because they were there they will soon be right in the center of the action. It all begins to happen with an earthquake—a severe one—with the presence of an angel who had rolled away the stone vs 3. The guards also witnessed the arrival of the lightening appearance of the angel in a garment white as snow vs 3. These guards froze with fear traumatized by what they had just witnessed vs 4. Sometimes it is not good to be in the center of the action.
TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO BE AVAILABLE FOR GOD
The women were the first to see the tomb, the angel, and Christ vs10 because they were available. They were not hiding somewhere as apparently the disciples were.
First—the angel told them not to be afraid vs 5. So these first words were meant to give them comfort and assurance. Actually, they had not come expecting to find Jesus raised but the angel acknowledges who it is they are coming to see.
Second—then the angel gives them the greatest news ever reported in all history, He is not here, for He has risen just as He said vs 6. His resurrection which they had not expected on this trip should not be a surprise to them because it happened just as Jesus said it would.
Third—they are invited to come and see where he was lying vs 6. At this point the women went in to the tomb and saw it was empty. After joining them there the angel—by the way angels as God’s messengers do that here as they did at His birth—in John 20:12 another angel joined them with one at his head and another at his feet. So they would have the evidence before them.
Fourth—they are given an assignment, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead vs 7. So there is no time to revel in the good news but get the disciples out of hiding—who had stubbornly refused to believe Jesus would die and be raised. Instead of rebuking the m the Lord sends a message of hope and encouragement to them.
are to announce Jesus is going into
Imagine missing this moment because you were not available for it. We miss out too when we are not available to participate in what it is God is doing. You may be too preoccupied to make disciples, study the Word, pray to your heavenly Father, share the good news of the gospel—and you unavailability comes at a cost. You miss out on the action of the kingdom. You doubt and fear and unbelief and anger so God and His ministry passes you by. Are you available for the work of the kingdom? Are you willing to participate in what God is doing or do you already have an agenda of your own? They took off and on the way Jesus met them. This elicited the only appropriate response possible—they worshipped Him the risen Lord vs 9-10. Get involved with what God is doing it is the most exciting place you can be. Don’t sideline yourself.
DON’T EXPECT MIRACLES TO CONVINCE UNBELIEVERS
Now we have the sorry story of the enemy who had refused all along to get involved with what God was doing vs 11-15. They are only interested in damage control so they pay off these soldiers to lie which is really consistent with the whole scheme they had concocted to convict and crucify Christ. They can’t let that scheme unravel. When someone believes something else, like the chief priest did, no amount of evidence is going to convince them. Ever since them theories have tried to explain away the resurrection: Swoon theory—Jesus went in to a deep coma; Hallucination theory—everyone expected resurrection and were induced by this expectation; Theft theory—his body was stolen to look like a resurrection. Of course the whole episode reveals the opposite—they made sure Jesus was dead; many people actually saw him alive afterwards; they had to concoct a deceitful plan to not let word leak out that He was alive. People do not need evidence. They need faith in the truth of the gospel.
BELIEVERS TEND TO DOUBT & DOUBTERS TEND TO BELIEVE
Notice some of the eleven disciples doubted vs 17 even after getting the first hand accounts. They had missed out on all of it because they were hiding out in unbelief and fear. The chief Priests believed that Jesus would not remain in the tomb. So in both cases they followed their fears. You fear that which you perceive to threaten your hope. Because of that you can determine the object of your hope by what you fear. Fear in this life can only be eliminated by fearing God. We are never told to ‘fear not’ God. Fear Him alone.
MAKE DISCIPLES THE WAY CHRIST DID
Jesus shows up with instructions that are repeated by all four gospels and the book of Acts. In Matthew’s account we note:
1. Jesus has authority to commission them vs 18. This power is the freedom and right to act and speak. In heaven where the will of God is being accomplished and on earth where God’s will is not being accomplished because of the unbelief of the Jews but still can be through Christ.
2. Jesus gives them the task to make disciples vs 19-20. Discipleship is the key here. It is the verb which governs all of the action to follow. It includes three aspects: 1) Going modifies ‘making disciples’ and is meant to send them out to do this kind of thing. 2) Baptizing modifies ‘making disciples’ so they were to bring their disciples into total identification with God. ID with the Trinity may mean water baptism but more likely 3) Teaching modifies ‘making disciples’ so they were to teach disciples a kingdom lifestyle. How do they live not how much do they know. This is an all-inclusive command for us in this age. Discipleship occurs as you are going not just waiting for disciples to come to you.
3. Jesus extends this commission into all the world vs 19. First, it is to all the nations and Second, it is throughout the age vs 20. This is our mandate. Everyone building into someone! The power for this work is the spiritual presence of Christ. So with the authority of Christ behind you and the presence of Christ with you, make disciples in all nations during the whole age. How about getting involved with what it is God is doing? It is the most exciting place to be.
1. Watch out for preoccupations that deter you from what it is God wants to do.
2. The best way to use you life is to invest it as a witness of Jesus Christ in your own sphere of influence. That sphere may change from time to time but determine to bring the same witness as it does.
3. Take all of your doubts to the Word of God and believe what God says by doing what is consistent with what you believe.
4. Make disciples all your life. A disciple is…