Matthew 28:18-20, “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.”
This is a very familiar passage for most of us that claim to be Christians. We hear it all the time. But then why aren’t we living it out? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty that do live it out. This passage is most often used to describe the need for people to become missionaries around the world. And that is certainly part of the call here from Jesus. But I firmly believe that not all of us are called to travel to far off mission fields. There are places and people right where we live that need Jesus as well. So this passage is truly for all of us. But that leads back to my first question. Why aren’t more of us living it out?
Maybe it’s because we don’t feel like we are qualified to talk to others about Jesus. Maybe it’s because we just assume someone else will do it for us. Maybe it’s because we’re scared of the other persons reaction. Or maybe it’s just that we simply don’t care enough about that other person to tell them about the greatest gift that has ever been given. If it’s this last statement, that we simply don’t care about the other person enough, what is the cause of that? Could it be that our relationship with Jesus isn’t as strong as we believe it is? Doug Fields, in his book Fresh Start: God’s Invitation to a Great Life, states, “When we know God intimately, this gives us a new power to care for the spiritual conditions of others.” Part of our relationship with God should compel us to share our faith with others. II Corinthians 5:14, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
Ok, so we are called, or even compelled, to share with others about our faith with Christ. But what does that look like? Most people know something about religion. And, let’s be honest, most people are turned off by religion. And who could blame them. Religion makes most people think of a long list of strict rules that are impossible to live up to. Also, religion (any religion for that matter), throughout history, has not always held the best track record of love and peace.
What we should have with Christ in our lives is not religion. It’s a relationship with the Creator of the universe. And that should be exciting enough to want to share with anyone. Fields, later in the same chapter, states, “They don’t need religion and rules; they need Jesus…And great joy awaits you if you care about their spiritual condition.” So, let me ask again, why are we not living out the command found in Matthew 28? Look closely at that passage again. There is a promise from Jesus there at the end that should calm any fear that we have. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Now that’s a promise that should go with us while we try to live out our lives.
Matthew 9:35-38, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'”