When talk turns to evangelism and disciple-making, we sometimes hear statements like these:
- I just don’t know if I can do it.
- It’s not really my gift; evangelism is not one of my abilities.
- That’s not something I can accomplish.
- I don’t have the proper authority, do I?
I won’t argue with those who make these statements; I agree with them. I think that’s probably why Jesus couches The Great Commission in the words he does (in bold):
Then Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus makes it very clear that our participation in mission is only possible because of our participation in him.
Making disciples is the work of Christ. And success will only be by his authority, with his power, and because of his abilities. You and I both are wholly unqualified to be missionaries and bringers of good news — except through our relationship with Christ.
All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus Christ, and it is by this authority that disciples are made. It is also by this authority that Jesus has commissioned us to be workers and harvesters in his kingdom.
And perhaps some of the best news of all is that Jesus will be with us forever. Mission will never be our endeavor.
We’ve done a great disservice to mission work everywhere by reading The Great Commission with Jesus’ opening and closing statements edited away. Much harm has been done to Christianity because of this (false) belief that successful evangelism is somehow a result of the evangelist’s abilities.
I pray we can be unqualified and powerless, so Christ can accomplish his mission through us.
[This post is the second in a little series on The Great Commission. The first post is here: worship (even when in doubt).]