Matthew 28:19-20. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What is our purpose in life? Why are we here? Why do we exist?
If we go all the way back to Genesis we can find some answers to these big questions. We exist to image God. To worship him, love him, and serve him. How? By being fruitful and multiplying. By filling the earth with his love through creating more and more image bearers.
How? Were Adam and Eve supposed to clone themselves? Should they have built a person factory? No. They made more image bearing worshipers of God by their loving relationship with one another. A relationship that mirrored the Trinity. The love of the Trinity created more lovers. And the same is true for us – our love will create more lovers.
If we think of our relationship with God as a fruit bearing plant (maybe like a vine and a branch), we can see that we are meant to produce the fruit of love (a branch) by staying connected to the source of love (the vine). In Genesis 3 we were cut off from the vine of God’s love and have been bearing bad fruit ever since. We are multiplying greed, and hate, and selfishness, and fear.
But in Christ we are reconnected to the vine of God’s love. We are grafted in to his eternal life of grace. We are image bearers once again, remade in the image of Christ. We are fruit bearers. Multipliers. Not physically, as in Genesis 1. But spiritually. By the power of God’s love for us, and through loving relationships with others, we are called to once again be fruitful and multiply. Jesus called this disciple making. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. In this simple yet profound “Great Commission” we find both our purpose and our power.
What is our purpose? Make disciples.
Disciples – what an interesting word choice. Not converts. Not adherents. Not proselytes. Disciples. The word means students. In other words, invite people into an ongoing, slow moving, full of love and trust, relationship with yourself. This isn’t about preaching on street corners until someone makes a decision or walks down an aisle to an altar in a church. This is about teaching Jesus’ commands to someone. His commands to love God and love others. Teaching this through the Word and your own love filled life. Jesus is calling for close, intimate communities of love and grace. He’s calling for the church to be like the Garden of Eden. Not “be fruitful and multiply” through mass production of disciples. But through face-to-face, sharing of our lives.
Disciple making is the calling of all who are in Christ. There is no more questioning our purpose in this life. No wondering why we’re here. No more searching for meaning. This is it – go and make disciples. Sit with others. Stand with others. Walk with others. Share the good news and share life with them. Be able to say these words with Paul:
1 Thessalonians 2:8. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves.
What is our power for disciple making? I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Most Christians don’t really make disciples. Not like Jesus did. Most of us don’t invite others into a teacher-student relationship with ourselves. Why not? Because we are self-centered. Literally. We can only see all the ways we are failing personally and will therefore surely fail this other person that I am supposed to be discipling. In short we forget our union with Christ.
But the Jesus that said “all authority has been given to me,” the Jesus who said “it is finished,” and the Jesus who said “my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” is the Jesus who is saying “I am with you – everywhere and forever.”
Jesus WITH us isn’t just proximity. It’s enabling. It’s empowering. It’s freeing. It’s his work not yours. You can’t fail any more than Jesus can fail. And who knows, if you decide to make disciples, you might just actually learn to trust Jesus more than you ever have before.
“To live is Christ” is to invite others to share the life of Christ with us. And to do it in the freedom of Jesus’ own empowering authority and love. Multiplying the life of Christ by the love of Christ. And in the process finding the meaning of your life in his.
What is the purpose of your life?
You in Christ
In Christ you are given a purpose and a power – make disciples by Christ’s authority. How does this impact your thinking today?
Christ in you
How can you begin to make disciples?
Playlist: Great Commission
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