by Don Watson
Matthew 28:19 records the commission of Jesus to the disciples to go into all the world and make additional disciples from all nations. THIS IS OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE AS A CHURCH! No other reason is more important – We are to bring people to Jesus so that they love Him so much that they follow Him. We have the amazing privilege to invite people to rejoin the Divine Trinity in real, fearless, and intimate, moment-by-moment relationship like Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden before sin.
All too often, we try to accomplish our mission by hiring or appointing a "professional" evangelist who has been especially trained to preach and visit and get people to accept Jesus and become "saved." Then, as the custom is in many of our churches (And as the scripture says), we have a baptismal service, immerse the "believers" in water and they become members of the Body of Christ.
Certainly proclaiming the gospel and baptizing people is important and I don't see anything wrong with skilled, Spirit-gifted evangelists doing that. But there is something so much deeper about this passage of scripture – this commission by Jesus, our wonderful, amazing Savior – that will provide all of us, as the Body of Christ, a method, a technique – no . . . a way of life that brings people to Jesus, not merely to a church, but to Jesus, to truly follow Him, be with Him, in Him and He in us – a daily, minute by minute, nothing- hidden relationship that includes us in the unconditional love of the Divine Trinity.
Let's take a look at it. Matthew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
"Baptizing them" – we have looked at this part of the commission as something that would simply follow the command to "make disciples" – the next step, if you please. We walk the new convert out into the lake, or church baptistery and "Baptize them." So I'm not minimizing the importance of every believer being baptized by immersion. It is and should be a joyful celebration with presents and food and anything else that would let them know heaven isn't the only one rejoicing. But that baptism is a symbol, I believe, of what has previously gone on between two of God's children – one who is a disciple immersing the other in the "NAME," the character of each Person in the Divine Trinity. And this immersion takes place, I believe, when we "go" into our part of the world – wherever Jesus leads us any particular day.
But if we get "The Name" wrong, people will drown instead of becoming disciples. If we "immerse" people in a false god, a mean god, an angry god, a condemning god, we might make church members who are ten times a child of hell than they were before, but we will not make disciples of Jesus. The NAME we immerse them in, must replicate the same God that Jesus revealed to people while here on this earth. It must be the God who accepted Mary as a prostitute, Zachaeus as a tax collector, the sick and blind as sinners. Thousands of sinners would not have flocked around Jesus if they had felt one ounce of judgment or condemnation. The NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is "unconditional love, complete acceptance of sinners as sinners – exactly as they are, and forgiveness before we sin, while we are sinning and after we sin.
You see, God knows that we would never come to Him if we are afraid of Him or feel condemned by Him. So Jesus came to reveal the unconditional love of the Trinity, because it is in that Divine Triangle that power exists to change. That power will never be forced; it only is given to us by our permission. Calvary accomplished that permission.
So how do each one of us get in on the amazing purpose and abundant life Jesus promised us? First, you and I must come to Jesus ourselves and become His disciples – be in an intimate nothing-hidden relationship with Him. We would only do that with a God, a Jesus, a Trinity that is has no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Then ask Jesus to live in us, via His sweet Holy Spirit, so that we treat all people ("All Nations" – Matthew 28:19) that we meet – our boss, our co-workers, our family, our ex-husband, the jerk at school – like Jesus treated everyone He met. Like God treats us!
So let's finish this off real practical-like. Make a list of people you see in your week. Write down their name if you know it or just call them something ("Mail man", etc.). Then pray for them, their lives, their problems, and ask God to immerse them through you in the unconditional love of Jesus. Find ways to get to know them, really know them, without judging them. Look for the needs they have. When you see any of their needs, that's the still small voice of the Spirit. So just love them, love them, love them. Immerse them in the NAME of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. GO YE! The Spirit will take it from there.