What Does it Say?
Matthew 28:19–20 (NKJV) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Mark 16:9–14 “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 17 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
What Does it Mean?
Mary Magdalene was the first person that Jesus appeared to after His resurrection (remember that Jesus appeared to several people during the 40 days after His resurrection and before He ascended to heaven). She told the disciples He was alive and they did not believe her. Jesus showed Himself to two others who also told the disciples Jesus was alive and they didn’t believe them either.
Later on, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples who were together … and He corrected them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. After all, Jesus had told them that He would be killed and would rise again on the third day, and several witnesses let them know He was alive. This was not the first time Jesus corrected His disciples for unbelief and hardness of heart.
After Jesus corrected them, He gave them the assignment to go and make disciples of all people groups, teaching them to observe (in order, to obey) all that He had taught them.
What Does it Mean to Us?
Think about it: these eleven men had been face-to-face with Jesus for about 3 years. They heard Him teach with authority, they saw Him heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, raise the dead … He spent much time with them, teaching them and explaining the Kingdom of God. WOW! You would think that after 3 years of being with the Son of God, who is the living Word, there would be NO doubt in their hearts and NO hardness of heart. However, there was one problem: They were human beings–– imperfect human beings with shortcomings that, one could reason, would prevent God from calling them to do His work.
However, immediately after Jesus rebuked His disciples, He gave them the most important mission ever given to mankind: to go and make disciples everywhere by teaching people to obey what Jesus says. Knowing His disciples’ weaknesses did not cause Jesus to waiver or hesitate from giving them their assignment.
Jesus is very aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings. He is full of love and truth and He will correct us; He will address sin in our lives. But our “issues” don’t change His mind about His plan for us to go and make disciples everywhere. As He didn’t hesitate with His disciples back then, He doesn’t hesitate with you or me now.
It is still amazing to me, but you and I are God’s very best plan to bring salvation to mankind. He knew the challenges that would come by working through imperfect people, yet we are His preferred method, and He doesn’t have a Plan B. You and I are God’s Plan A. But we are not alone … we have God’s unfailing Word and the precious Holy Spirit. Despite our weaknesses, we are well able to fulfill this Great Commission!
Can you hear Jesus calling you without hesitation to go make disciples? Let’s open up our hearts and let Jesus know that we do hear Him and that we receive––personally receive––His commission to go and make disciples. Let’s acknowledge that His plan is our plan and that we fully yield ourselves to this great call.
Let’s thank Him that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and that when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let’s receive His grace to be great disciple-makers! Let’s thank the Lord that we have His unfailing Word and the Holy Spirit who fills us, leads us, and empowers us. Let’s rejoice in this great privilege to be used by Him to see lives impacted for eternity! Hallelujah!!!