Matthew 28:18 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (The Message Bible)
This is how Matthew concludes his gospel. In storytelling, whether done orally or in writing or through video, the ending is vital. A good ending needs to tie together much that went before and put it in such a way that it will be remembered and make an impact. So Matthew places before his readers Jesus’ command to “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life” or, as older versions of the bible put it, “go and make disciples of all the nations.” We don’t think in terms of being a disciple in our culture these days. I hardly ever hear the term used outside the church and not all that much inside it either. So what does it mean to be and make disciples? I think we can say at least two things. First, we are talking about people. Often when we think of church we think of buildings and programs. Disciples are people and making disciples means focusing on people. Second, we are talking about a total way of living, a fundamental approach to life where God is the center. So is that what Matthew (and Jesus) wanted us to remember, that we are to be concentrating on people and showing them a way of life powered and ordered by God? If not that, then what? If that, how do we live it out this week?