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Jesus’ Model of Discipleship

 

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)

The Great Commission provides a blueprint for discipleship, “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, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). The following sections focus on the five important aspects Jesus presented relating to discipleship, including 1. Authority Given, 2. Go, 3. Make Disciples, 4. Baptize, and 5. Teach.

 

“Authority Given”

The opening of the Great Commission passage in Matthew begins with the twelve disciples, minus Judas, going to the mountain in Galilee. Jesus spoke to them, giving them authority over all in heaven and on earth. R. T. France suggests that the entire book has been awaiting this section. This command gives the book an ending and close.[14] The authority given to them is a sealing of all they have seen and learned from Jesus. Now, as Jesus is ready to ascend to the right hand of the Father, he gives the very authority he has to the disciples to do the same works and even greater.[15] Donald Senior posits, “Matthew thus ratifies the authority, content, and scope of the community’s mission by rooting it in the commands and abiding presence of the Risen Jesus.”[16] Even though the disciples are doubtful at first of the authority given to them, they are given their mission. Jesus’ promised to be with the twelve[17] and emboldens them in their faith and solidifies the authority they have been given in the opening passage. The authority given to the disciples is for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission. Even though the disciples were feeling overwhelmed, Jesus assured them that they never would be walking alone.

 

“Go”

The first aspect of the Great Commission is to go. The disciples understood that being a disciple of Christ meant they would be leaving their homes, families, and the security they had previously known. They left behind their jobs and careers to become a full-time follower of Jesus. This was a life decision for the disciples. Hans Kvalbein states, “The call to be a disciple meant in Jesus’ lifetime was to leave family, profession and property.”[18] The disciples understood that this command also regarded who they made contact with. This looks different from person to person as each were called to differing areas. Peter, for example, was called to lead the early church in Jerusalem. Paul, on the other hand, started in a synagogue but was moved to mission work with the Gentiles. Philip, also, exemplifies the evangelistic approach to going out. The call looked different for the disciples, for individuals in the early church, and for each believer now. The point is to realize however one is directly involved in ‘going’—whether going locally, statewide, or across the globe— ‘going’ is part of Jesus’ command given to all his followers.

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Category: Biblical Studies

About the Author: Alyssa Lillo is a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, majoring in Ministry and Leadership with Local Church Pastor as well as Evangelism and Outreach concentrations. After graduation she plans to work with a Christian non-profit (church or organization) to bring the light of God through outreach and discipleship to all she encounters.

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