BY DAVE STEEL
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened,” Jesus said, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). No doubt our world is just as weary now as it was when Jesus first offered this invitation some two thousand years ago. It was intended for all of us, which is why Christ followers have something to offer this world.
“The world can get on very well without you and me,” D. L. Moody said, “but the world can not get on without Christ, and therefore we must testify of him.” Jesus’ first disciples did just that, declaring, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
This, as it turns out, is Christ’s will for all his followers. Shortly before his ascension to heaven, Jesus solemnly charged his disciples with these words: “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” (Matt. 28:18-20).
This final charge of Jesus is often referred to as “The Great Commission”--and for good reason. Notice that it’s backed by all authority. It extends to all nations. It encompasses everything Jesus commanded. And it remains in effect until the very end of the age. It’s a great commission. It’s our commission.
It means that to follow Christ is not just to know him but to make him known as well. Disciples of Jesus make disciples of Jesus. As Paul told Timothy, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2).
Writing during the nineteenth century, Charles Spurgeon shared a timeless word about the joy of pursuing this commission:
Even if I were utterly selfish, and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner, for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most ennobling order till I first heard of one who had sought and found a Savior through my means. I recollect the thrill of joy which went through me! No young mother ever rejoiced so much over her first-born child, no warrior was so exultant over a hard-won victory. Oh! the joy of knowing that a sinner once at enmity has been reconciled to God by the Holy Spirit, through the words spoken by our feeble lips.