As Matthew's gospel draws to a close Jesus gives his disciples instructions to:
"make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you."
To be a disciple is to be a student, or a learner. It is to intentionally seek to be with someone and to learn from them, to get good at whatever it is that they are known for being good at. While the word disciple is mostly used with churches, the idea behind it can apply to many different parts of our lives.
The gospels tell us that Jesus had many disciples while he lived and taught, more than just the twelve we often focus on. All of them spent time with him to learn what he was good at, which was following God with heart, mind, soul and strength. As he prepares to leave them, his final instructions are to continue doing just what he did, taking what they have learned from him and teaching it to new people who believe in him and what he did in defeating sin so that humans could know peace with God.
One of our primary tasks as disciples - followers of, learners from - Jesus, is to make other disciples. On the one hand it is a pretty clear-cut job assignment. We can’t pretend that Jesus didn't say what to do. On the other hand, it is a daunting task. We might ask ourselves: What do I really know about faith that I can teach someone else? Isn't making disciples someone else's job, like the pastor?
While we can find the basic idea of teaching other people to be overwhelming, the good thing is that there are many ways it can be done. In our home, as we teach our children habits of reading the Bible and prayer. One-on-one as we share with someone what we have learned as God proved to be faithful during a hard time in our life. As we help out in a program such as Dulce Community Awana. And we will find that as we help people grow in their faith, that we continue to grow as well.
Let's make 2018 a year of intentional growth as followers of Jesus. A year of personal growth in your own study of the Bible, prayer life and worship. A year of growth together as a congregation, so that we can continue to be a people following Jesus, bringing more of his presence and love to the people of Dulce.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.