Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20
As I studied this passage there was so much more than can go into one sermon, especially a sermon that needs to be on the short side as there's lots of other stuff going on in worship tomorrow.
Here are a few thoughts that didn't make the cut:
According to one commentary - making disciples is about bringing folks into the community of faith, then comes believing, baptism, teaching. So if we use this understanding of making disciples, we work to get folks into community with us or others before we worry about their beliefs. Or, as some denominations would put it, before they are saved. This particular commentary would say community comes first.
I also found myself asking about the directive about "teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." Here's my question - do we teach people or do we teach content? You see, when you ask a teacher what they teach, most often they will tell you the subject they teach. I couldn't ever answer that way. Sometimes I would say I teach special ed (which really describes a population of students), but sometimes I would say I teach students with special needs. Do we teach people or topics? In Hebrew the word teach = to cause to learn. No question there as to who/what the object of the verb is - people not content. In this passage, the direction also indicates that we teach people not the content. It doesn't say teach all that I have commanded you to the people.
So how, you might ask, are the paragraphs above related? Funny you should ask in just that way - related, relational, relationship. These are what these two paragraphs have in common. Making disciples (bringing into the community) and teaching are both relational activities requiring at least on some level, relationship.
With whom do we as the body of Christ, commissioned to make disciples, baptize, and teach need to be fostering relationships?