I’m writing this week to those of you reading who consider yourselves a Christian. Those who —along with me — make up what we call the church. If you’re one who would rather not be bothered with the whole Jesus thing but would like some ammo for your next debate with a Christian, you might find some here, so read on!
I fear that, as David Platt penned in the foreword to Francis Chan’s “Multiply,” we have subtly and tragically taken [the] costly command of Christ to go, baptize and teach all nations and mutated it into a comfortable call for Christians to come, be baptized and listen in one location.
That’s a reference to an oft-quoted passage in the New Testament book of Matthew. In verses 19 and 20 Jesus is speaking to the eleven men He called one-by-one to follow, learn from, and become like Him.
He 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 all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Christians commonly refer to this as The Great Commission.
The passage is frequently used as a base charge to move to some other part of the world and make converts to Christianity through missionary work. Those men did just that. They began telling people about this amazing Jesus who walked on water, healed physical infirmities, cured diseases, and fed thousands when little or no food was available. They testified that even though they were witnesses as this man was himself beaten and nailed to a cross where he died a painful and cruel death, they had later seen, eaten with, and spoken to Him — and He was alive!
Theirs was anything but a comfortable life. They were threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and generally treated as outlaws because they would not back down from their story. Yet, as Platt wrote, though we quote and even revere these eleven original disciples, we have determined that somehow, we are owed a comfortable place in a world every bit as vile and cruel as the world they offered their testimony to.
It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
Remember this, Christian: We are not merely responsible for our own spiritual well-being; we are called to minister to the people around us, teaching them to obey all the things that Jesus commands. And in a dark world playing hide and seek from absolute truth and any moral base, it’s only getting darker.
But Jesus says you’re the light of the world. I promise to pray for you as you learn to truly shine. I only ask that you do the same for me.