So now we get to the meat of the matter, Matthew 28:16-20 tells us exactly what the MISSION of the Church ought to be. In yesterday's blog we discussed that the Church does not operate under its own authority, but that the Church functions UNDER the authority of Christ (v.18).
An easy way to break down these five verses in Matthew, is to look at the four imperative verbs in the text and give a little exegesis on each one. Actually, there is one main verb with three supporting participles. Let's go back to grammar school real for a second, here is a quick and simple definition of a participle: A participle is basically a verb that works as an adjective. In other words, it looks like a verb, but modifies a noun http://blogs.kansas.com/grammar/2010/03/10/what-is-a-participle-anyway/#ixzz1dJEvUE00.
Here we go, the main verb in our text is "MAKE DISCIPLES."
- Making followers of Christ is therefore the first and most important mission of the Church.
Therefore the process of making disciples involves: going, baptizing, and teaching. Let us look at each one briefly:
- The command to "GO" has been interpreted in one of two ways in the past. One way to look at it is just a straight command to go---as missionaries do it, they go all over the world to make disciples.
- Another way to interpret this command to GO, is, "as you are already going;" or as you are "living your life from day to day" you should be making disciples. It is not viewed so much as a command to go somewhere specific, but rather it is viewed more as you are living your daily lives, and in that daily routine of life, you should be making disciples.
The process of disciple making continues with BAPTISM. What does baptism represent? It shows or implies that an individual has had his/her sins forgiven and will now walk in newness of life.
Finally the process is complete with TEACHING. Sound Biblical teaching completes the discipleship process---Jesus wants obedient, mature followers, who in time will be able to go and reproduce this process in others.