Then Jesus came to them and said, “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 (NIV)
As Jesus is about to depart from Earth at the end of Matthew, his last words to his disciples are recorded, commonly known as the Great Commission. The statement Jesus gives contains three key commands: they are to 1) make disciples, 2) baptize disciples, and 3) teach disciples. No ifs, ands or buts about it… Those are three distinct actions that Jesus requires of his followers.
Unfortunately, many people like to cherry pick Jesus’ words here and just adhere to the instructions they want. When applied to their life, if often sounds something like the following: “I’m a Christian? Check. Been baptized? Check. OK, I’m good. See ya in heaven!”
There’s more involved with being a Christian however than just “get saved, get baptized.” Disciples must also be taught. Why? Because current disciples still need to grow. Then they are ready to evangelize and make more disciples, and the cycle continues.
That’s why Sunday morning worship services are important. That’s why mid-week youth group meetings are important. That’s why daily personal Bible study time is important. They aren’t just things we do… They are commands from Jesus himself about how his followers should learn and develop.
And this isn’t a “You have to go to church to be a Christian” rant. You don’t have to go to church. But you are commanded to be to taught. So if are a follower of Jesus but you are missing out on opportunities to be taught what he said, you might need to rearrange your priorities a little.
Make disciples. Baptize disciples. Teach disciples. All three are equal, and all three are vital to the process of reaching the world that Jesus put into action thousands of years ago.
Anything less isn’t the Great Commission. It’s the Great Omission.