We end our exploration of Jesus’ commands where we began. We started with Jesus’ final command, often called the Great Commission. In that first article, we examined the command to make disciples, not in the sense of force but in the sense of inviting others to follow Jesus. But in that first look we ended with a question – What are the commands Jesus is instructing His followers to obey and teach? That question launched the journey called “Jesus Says.”
To refresh our memories. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, NIV)
This simplest way to phrase what Jesus is meaning by “everything I have commanded you” are His commands to love God with everything we are and to love each other. Those two commands encompass everything else. So, while I didn’t frame it that way, our exploration of Jesus’ commands also revealed and demonstrated what it really means to love God and love others.
One final warning. Jesus command is not about making disciples in our own image but leading folks towards Christlikeness. They are not our disciples at all but Jesus’. In some ways, we can’t help but inject some of ourselves, but we blunt those impurities by always steering folks to Jesus and asking the Holy Spirit to continue His work in us.
One final encouragement. Everyone that follows Jesus is invited to the work of making disciples. It is not limited to the “professionals” although they may be more gifted at it and have a greater number under their care. All of us who follow Jesus can in some way encourage and inspire others to love God, love others, and follow Jesus. The ways to do this work are innumerable. Only a few will stand in front of the crowd to teach, but all can pray, care, and walk beside someone else in their struggle.
So often we see the job of following Christ as garbage collectors; exposing and removing sin from the world. As if we are the pure ones trying to clean up the world and demand others to stop littering. Yes, light will expose darkness but what is the light except for the love of God? It is the Holy Spirit’s job (one of many) to convict the world of Sin. It is Jesus’ blood that cleanses the world of Sin. It is our job to love God and love each other.
To be honest it’s a lot easier being a garbage collector than a beacon of God’s love. It’s easier to make disciples after our image than point them to Jesus. Loving God and loving others is risky, demanding, and dangerous work. It requires openness, an ear to hear the Holy Spirit and the hearts of others, transparency, and a willingness to lose everything. That is how we make disciples and teach them to observe all that Jesus has commanded.