After being forgiven and restored, Peter and the other disciples went to Galilee, where Jesus gave them (and us) the Great Commission:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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 28:16-20)
Jesus commanded the disciples to go to a mountain in Galilee, and they obeyed. Indeed, the proper response to Jesus’ forgiveness and restoration is obedience to Him. “Some doubted,” but they all worshipped Him nevertheless. As humans, our faith is imperfect. Even when we don’t “feel” God’s presence, we must still worship Him, for God is omnipresent (everywhere at once).
How are we to be obedient to Jesus? How are we to worship Him? We are to obey and worship Jesus by fulfilling the Great Commission.
The main thrust of the Great Commission—Jesus’ primary command—is to “make disciples.” More properly translated, this text reads: “Make disciples of all nations as you go, baptizing them … [and] teaching them …” The main verb is “make disciples.” As Christians, we are to obey and worship Jesus by making disciples of all nations. How are we to make disciples of all nations, though?
- Go. As we go, as we live our daily lives, we are to share the gospel with the unsaved people we come into contact with. We get so riled up and excited about sports and celebrities—so much more so should we be excited over our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The perfect Son of God who became sin for us (though He knew no sin) so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)! Furthermore, as we go, we are also to speak the truth to fellow Christians in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). Furthermore, we should “reprove, rebuke, and exhort [each other], with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). Indeed, true discipleship does not end with evangelism; true discipleship involves the training of people who are already Christian. (I hope to write a post exclusively on true discipleship in the future.)
- Baptize. Once a person has been saved—once they have had faith in Jesus Christ and repented (now loving God and hating sin)—we are to baptize them. A biblical profession of faith is not walking an aisle or praying a prayer or even saying “I’m saved.” Water baptism (full immersion) is the Biblical profession of faith. In baptism, the new Christian is identified with Christ, and in baptism, the new Christian publicly professes his/her faith in Christ and joins a local body of believers.
- Teach. This is at the heart of true discipleship. We are not to leave new Christians on their own. Indeed, the current lack of discipleship in the church is why so many conversions are false (and prove themselves false by not sticking). The true Christian will grow in the faith, and God has ordained that older, more mature believers help young believers grow and mature. We older Christians must not let the thorns of this world choke out a false conversion; we must rather tend each conversion and disciple new converts to be sure that they are converted truly—we will know the tree by its fruit (Matthew 13:7-8, 7:15-20).
Our confidence, however, is not in ourselves. Without Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5); with Him, however, we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). Indeed, Christ is with us “always, to the end of the age.” This is our motivation, our comfort, our joy: we do not disciple in our own strength. We disciple (evangelizing, baptizing, and teaching) others in the power of Christ’s Spirit which indwells us. But let us strive for ever more; let us have a “holy dissatisfaction” (John Piper) with our fleshly progress in the faith. Let us strive ever onward—let us ever seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Indeed, one of the best ways to know if you’re filled with the Holy Spirit is to be a Great Commission-consumed Christian (all for the glory of God).