18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 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 28:18-20 (New International Version)
Fulfilling our Calling
To all of us who have proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Almighty has given us a job to do. Until He returns again, we are commanded to go into the nations and proclaim His Gospel to all people. Now, when we do this, and people come and accept Christ, what is the next step? Jesus, in His final address to His apostles, maps out what it is we are to do as we proclaim the Good News.
Importance of Baptism
When people come to believe the Gospel, Jesus commands that they need to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Why is baptism so important? Isn’t enough that they say they believe?
The Engaged Woman
Consider this example. Suppose a woman got engaged to be married. Does she keep the matter to herself? Usually not. Most likely she would tell everyone she knows and often she would show off the ring that her fiance gave to her. That is because this event is the happiest time of her life; and such happiness must be shared.
Showing Your Love
The same principle applies to baptism. Accepting Christ should be the most important moment of your life. After all, your faith in Christ freed you from the bondage of sin and gave you eternal life. Such good news needs to be shared with others. Baptism is a public showing of how much you love Jesus and what He did for you. It is like the engaged woman showing off her ring.
The Importance of Discipleship
However, baptism is only the first step. After a person has been baptized, Jesus commands that we train them to be His disciples. Why is discipleship so important? What is the difference between being a disciple and a believer?
The Role of the Disciple
A disciple is one who learns to be like his Master. He listens to every word that the Master says and asks questions in order to understand his words. The disciple watches everything that the Master does and then goes and does likewise. In time, after a great deal of practice and study, the disciple looks a lot like his Master in the way he talks and acts.
Our Role of Making Disciples
In order to experience the fullness of eternal life which the believer has in Christ, it’s important for them to learn everything there is to know about their Savior. That means that we, as His disciples, must go alongside new believers and teach them about Christ and how to be like Him. We do this through studying the Bible with them, praying with them, and showing them how to apply what Jesus says by modeling it before them.
Jesus is With Us
The task of proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples in all the world may seem to be an impossible task. I can imagine that Jesus’s apostles thought the same way when they heard His commission for them. That is probably why, in His final words, Jesus reminded them that they were not alone in this endeavor. That as they go faithfully to fulfill His command, His power will guide them and strengthen them; even in the darkest of times.
Jesus’s promise also applies to us today. Therefore, let’s proclaim, with confidence, the Gospel to all people. To those who come to believe, let us come alongside them and disciple them, teaching them about our wonderful Savior. While there may be times when we run into difficulties, we mustn’t let them discourage us. Instead, let’s remember the final words of Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”