Today my Bible reading took me to Matthew 28:19-20, which says, “Go and make disciples of all the nations…teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” This verse is a very familiar passage to me, but as I read it today, the thing that really jumped out at me is that it’s not simply a suggestion from Jesus - it’s a direct command. That’s important for Christians to understand, because many of us look at these words from Jesus as a command that is only for folks doing foreign missions. And we think that while ignoring the fact that this is a command for every Believer, to be carried out in our everyday lives.
Now, some of us may choose to ignore this command because we're too preoccupied with our own lives to think of others. For others, we overlook these words from Jesus because we're afraid to approach someone who doesn't believe in Him. And still others of us ignore this command because we don't feel equipped to answer questions that might come up in the process of “making disciples”. Whatever the reason is, too many of us who follow Christ don't make following this command from Christ a priority to obey in our day to day lives.
As I've been pondering all of this today, I've been reminded that one of the best tools we have for carrying out this command is the gospel message itself. Here’s why I say that: in Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul says, “I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.” The word that Paul uses here for “power” is the Greek word “dunamis”. It's the same word Jesus used in Acts 1:8 when He says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.” It's also the root for the English word “dynamic”, and it's where we get the word “dynamite”. So when we read Paul’s words in Romans 1:16 with this understanding in mind, what we see is that the message of the gospel is God's “dynamite” - that’s how powerful it is.
This understanding of the words Paul uses here is important for us to keep in mind as we think about interacting with the spiritually lost around us, because we often underestimate the real power of the gospel in reaching even the most hardened heart. As a result, we fall into the trap of thinking we need to water it down, or gloss it over, or even complicate it in an effort to add power to it. But Paul reminds us that there is distinct power in the simple message of the life, words, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that means that all we need to do is follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 and proclaim the gospel - then stand back and watch what God will do.
So today, let's ask God to help us see the need of the spiritually lost around us, and then let's ask Him for the opportunity to share the power of what He did through the cross. And when He does all of that, let's be faithful to take those opportunities and introduce those who are lost to the God who loves them and wants to welcome them home.