The last instruction our Lord Jesus Christ left for the disciples was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). When it is read in the English language, it is a very straight forward directive about what He wanted the disciples to do when they do not have Him anymore. There have however been controversies over whether the “Go” in this imperative command was properly translated from the Greek word. Scholars have said that the word used in the Greek version could have been translated as “go” or “as you are going” or even “being already on the go”. The idea then is, the statement should have been to the effect that “since we are already going somewhere, we should make disciples as we go”. Sounds reasonable, but several people of God have said that it is an attempt to change the Word of God. How about we leave the Greek interpretation aside for a minute and just think about the modern-day Christian.
The modern-day Christian typically has a 9 to 5 job. Some modern-day Christians have two or more jobs they do just to be able to put food on the table. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult for Christians to be able to make special time to go out there and evangelize or make time to disciple those who have already been converted. In any case, in our daily lives, we come across different folks, believers and unbelievers alike. It stands to reason then that rather than plan to set time aside to evangelize or disciple, why don’t we plan to make disciples as we go about our daily lives? Why don’t we make discipling or evangelizing an integral part of our daily routines? Making disciples as we go means that making disciples will become a way of life for us. Whether we are going to work, to school, to shop or to play, we are to be making disciples. This changes the way we look at our lives. We become aware that every relationship is a potential opportunity to talk to them about Jesus and invite them to respond to Him by becoming one of His disciples.
No matter how busy our lives may be, we can obey the instructions to go and make disciples by recognizing that we have become Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) anywhere we go. Making disciples as we go is akin to being an everyday missionary. This mindset of being a missionary on the go is not new, in fact, it is like the mindset Apostle Paul had when he lived among the Thessalonians and ministered to them at the same time. “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake” (1 Thessalonians 1:5–7). So, our mindset must change from compartmentalizing, into knowing fully well that wherever we are, we are there for the Kingdom of God. The confession that we are wherever we are for a reason garners more meaning when we have this kind of mindset. The making disciples as we go perspective on mission work now brings up the realization, we can also be missionaries without the need to move to another country.
There is no doubt that some folks have some special call on their lives to travel the world and reach more people for Christ. Some others might just be short trips here and there. It is a special calling. However, for the rest of us, we can make converts as we go, we can make disciples as we go, we can be part of that great commission even as we go. Just remember that reaching people for Christ is not only done with words, it is a kind of life we also have to model. Jesus Christ lives a model life for the disciples; Apostle Paul modeled Christian living for the Thessalonians. That is what we are called to do. We must live the Christian life by putting truth in action and when our paths cross those of some unbelievers as we go, let our lives, our words, our truths glorify the Lord in their presence. That is how we pass on the truth of the gospel and that is what it means to make disciples as we go. So go out there, and as you are going, make disciples for the Lord. Be blessed as you do the work of the Father.
February 6, 2022 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya