Just before Jesus ascended back to His Father, He commissioned His eleven remaining disciples to “go…and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NASB). That is still our commission today, as Christ’s Church and as His individual followers. What are we being commanded to do?
When Jesus began His own work here among us, one of the first things He did was to make disciples, literally “learners” or “apprentices”. He approached individuals, looked them in the eye, and called them to leave their old life completely. He invited them to follow Him, learn from Him, and help Him; to make His agenda their only agenda; to give up everything for Him; to live with Him and die with Him.
This was no course in night school or part-time job. Discipleship was all-encompassing and all-consuming, 24/7. They gave up all security, comfort, and purpose outside of Jesus. They ate with Him, lodged with Him, worked with Him, walked with Him, watched Him, and listened to His words all day, every day. They were immersed in Jesus Christ and were reshaped by His life.
This is what Jesus was commissioning the eleven to do in Matthew 28: to make more such disciples for Him, to reproduce themselves. They were to baptize these disciples-in-the-making into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, then teach them all they themselves had learned from Christ.
This is still the calling of Christ’s disciples: to disciple others. We are to challenge them, encourage them, teach them, mentor them, and serve alongside them. We are to be instruments of the Spirit as He reshapes them into the image of Jesus. We are to nurture their personal relationship with the Father, the relationship that was Jesus’ focus and confidence and constant strength.
Discipleship is still radical, all-encompassing, and all-consuming. It is living life from and through and to Jesus Christ, and helping others to do the same.