Go therefore and 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 have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. --Matthew 28.19-20
The above paragraph ends the book of Matthew and summarizes the work Jesus calls His disciples to do. These two verses are called the "Great Commission" because these are the final words of Jesus to His disciples before He ascends to heaven.
Since they are His last words they must be important. And they are. Here, Jesus commands His followers to make disciples. This is to be the life's work of those who claim the name of Christ. They are to spend their days making disciples of other people.
This involves sharing the Gospel, baptizing new believers into the faith, and teaching them from the Bible. Discipleship is at the heart of the teaching of New Testament and should be at the heart of every Christian.
Every believer should have disciple-making as his or her top priority. How are you doing at bringing others along in the faith? How are you at sharing the Gospel with those who haven't heard? How are you at talking about God's Word with those who need spiritual encouragement and influence from you?
This is what I want my life to be about. I want to make disciples. I want to see young men and young women know and follow and love Jesus. I want to make disciples. I want to build up and teach others to pursue Jesus and walk with Him more closely.
Here's the problem: I can't do it.
One of the biggest things I've learned over the last year is that I can't do it. I can't make disciples. I can't change people's hearts. I've tried. It doesn't work. I can't do it.
How could Jesus command us--in His final words no less--to do something that we can't do? Because of v. 20.
In v.20, Jesus assures His followers that He will be with them always. I can't change people's hearts. I can't make people love Jesus more. I can't make people more spiritually mature.
But Jesus can.
Believing that Jesus can change people is humbling. Believing that God alone changes hearts requires faith and trust. Believing that you can't do the work robs you of the glory and gives it to God.
What I need more of in my life is brokenness. I need to recognize that God, and God alone, does the work of changing people. It isn't so much about my gifts, my skills, my personality, my training, my experience, or my persuasion. Believing this will humble me and force me to rely on God and abide in Christ. Believing this will also stir my heart to greater diligence in making disciples because Christ is with me...always.