And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20
These are the last recorded words from Jesus to his followers in the book of Matthew. He left them with a collective task to accomplish. He was unleashing them to go all over the world to make disciples, baptize, and teach new believers what they had learned from Jesus’ teaching.
The same commission has been given to us today. We have a chance to share the good news of Jesus with all people. We are also disciples of Jesus and have the opportunity to see others follow Jesus as Lord.
I recently asked some college students, “Why would we suggest to a friend that they should follow Jesus?” There were a few moments of silence, and then one guy chimed in, “Because he has changed my life.” Another guy said, “Jesus gives me hope.”
We share with others the gospel of Jesus Christ because it has changed our lives and given us hope. Not a hope that disappears like a seasonal fad, but an everlasting hope that will never fade. Namely eternal life with Jesus in heaven. That’s our hope.
We continued our conversation and discussed how suggesting someone follow Jesus is not like trying to sell someone a used car. We are not hiding anything. We are not avoiding unseen issues below the hood. We are confidently and boldly sharing with others the free gift of salvation that changes our life now and into eternity.
How? Because we have experienced personal change. It would be hard to suggest something to someone if we are unsure if going to give real results. We tell our friends about new restaurants, tv shows, and music because we have had a positive experience with what we are suggesting.
Likewise, sharing Jesus with others should come from a similar posture. Not out of obligation but out of joy, love, and satisfaction.
I’ve been using the term “suggest” redundantly for a reason. We are not commissioned by Jesus to force, make, or deceive someone to believe in him. Our task is to share the gospel and let others make their own decision on following Jesus.
We are to love and walk alongside people as they are on their spiritual journey. It takes time, and making people believe in Jesus is not our job; that’s God’s job. Be encouraged today to share with others the hope and change you have experienced.
Do it your way and use your strengths. Jesus does not give a 5-step program. He gave us unique, personal gifts to use for sharing the gospel. Everyone’s method will look and sound different and that is good. When you look at Matthew 28:18-20, you won’t see Jesus only talking to certain people. He is talking to all his disciples, and that includes you and me.
Let Jesus’ closing words give you confidence if sharing the gospel is a daunting concept.
I am with you always, to the end of the age.Matthew 18:20
questions to consider
- How can you use your strengths and gifts to share with others the good news of Jesus Christ?
- Do you see suggesting a friend to follow Jesus like offering them a used car or a hidden treasure?
- Can you remember the time when you began following Jesus as a disciple? If not, what is keeping you from following him as Lord?