Jesus’ final instruction to the disciples was to “Go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
My question is, when did this command (to make disciples) become more important than the teaching itself? After all, who are we to teach anyone if we ourselves do not follow the teaching we are supposed to use to MAKE disciples?
There is no doubt in my mind that spreading the message of Christ to all nations is of utmost importance to our (Christian) faith. However, I have grown frustrated over how we have compromised it. It seems to me that we have watered down or perhaps completely changed/neglected Jesus’ message for the sake of making Christianity more appealing or more easily understood.
Have we not read that God’s peace surpasses all human understanding!? Why then do we try to boil grace down to a formula? A prayer? A list of talking points? A political ideology? A set of practices that if properly observed, will makes us “better” in some way?
Haven’t we read about the backwards nature of God’s Kingdom?
It is in God’s Kingdom that the last will be made first and the first will be made last.
Jesus will hand over his own Kingdom to the poor for the price of nothing.
Mourners will be comforted.
People who are persecuted for Christ’s sake will be BLESSED! (these last three are in Matthew 5: the Beatitudes)
When did St. Francis’ evangelism take a back seat to booklets with “3 essential steps to knowing Jesus”? I’ll tell you when… ALWAYS! Humanity has ALWAYS been scared to live the way that God asks us to.
We all know about Adam and Eve and our own shortcommings, but Leviticus 25 explains another command, the Year of Jubilee. Read it if you have time, but if you want it quick and dirty… the Jubilee was a year when all fields were left unworked and unharvested, all debts were canceled, all slaves were set free, and all the land was redistributed equally among the people. This celebration was to take place as an act of worship, thanksgiving, love towards fellow man, and trust in the Lord; to use physical actions to witness and bless the unbelievers around Israel.
There is no record of a Jubilee ever being celebrated. Israel didn’t actually trust God enough to obey the commanded teaching.
When Jesus starts his ministry he begins by quoting Isaiah 61 and declaring the Year of the Lord’s Favor, Jubilee. In addition to the Jubilee he will be bringing good news to the poor, freeing prisoners, giving sight to the blind, and setting the oppressed free.
That was Jesus’ thesis statement for the essay that is his life. Everything he says and does throughout the rest of the gospels is in relation to that statement.
Now ask yourself, how much of that does my Church do? How much of that do I do? Does this statement guide all of my words and actions?
If our ideas about evangelism do not start in these words from Christ, then we need to refocus our efforts. Yes, God has been working with imperfection all along, but how much stronger would our witness be if we actually lived this? If we actually took care of each other? If we actually shared, healed, and freed people? If we actually loved one another as we love ourselves?
From now on, let’s not compromise the teaching for the command because I believe that if we live the teaching the command will come naturally.