The following write-ups are “homework” from a new Timothy Group which began in early December 2016. The format/structure of these write-ups here is an online version of what other members of the group are doing in hard-copy format, using four columns spread over two A4 sheets of paper. Each column corresponds to a different purpose:
- Rewrite the passage, word for word. In my case, I am typing up the entire passage from scratch.
- Paraphrase or re-tell the passage in your own words
- “I Will” / application / What is God showing me?
- Special / specific question assigned for each week
The bible passage for this week is Matthew 28:16-20, which explores the topic of the Great Commission. Throughout this series I will be using the New Living Translation version of the bible.
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him – but some of them still doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Then all the remaining disciples departed Jerusalem for Galilee, following the instructions of Jesus to meet up at a specific mountain top. There, even though not everyone was fully convinced of his Lordship, they all bowed before him to declare him as Lord and Saviour, the Messiah. Jesus taught them for a final time, saying “With the full power and glory of God over the entire world – heaven and earth – go in His name to spread the good news that the Kingdom of God is here and that all should turn from their ways and follow Christ in living out the will of God here on earth. Baptise all new believers with the power of the trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that they would be reborn in the Spirit. Share and follow the model that Jesus himself had provided, so that all believers would be obedient. Jesus finally gave the disciples his assurance and trust that He would always be with them for all eternity.
What is God Showing Me?
God shows me that even though not all his own direct disciples had full unity in the spirit, with some still expressing doubt, Jesus was not too concerned about the lack of unity in belief. He instead focused on getting on with the job, in terms of teaching and exposing the Great Commission. Sometimes, aiming for 100% belief is unnecessary and overkill.
We can go forth and fulfil the Great Commission in making disciples of all nations because God is with us and He is supporting us 100%. The challenge and lesson are therefore to go out with confidence; not overconfidence or arrogance, but righteous confidence that He fills us with.
A disciple is someone who is making disciples, baptising them into the faith and living out the example of obedience in following the commandments of God. This topic has been a recurring one of late given the Church vision and mission to be making disciples.
We can take heart that God is always with us, and in the form/person of the Holy Spirit, he indeed can dwell within our being to help us achieve greater things according to His will and purpose.
Who is the audience and what issue is He addressing?
The audience was the original 11 disciples; the first individuals that knew Jesus directly and personally in a physical form. By virtue of the nature of the Great Commission commandment, where the original disciples were to go forth and make more disciples, the audience is thus expanded to the growing body of believers who are baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The audience is therefore to all of us believers today who profess Jesus as the Messiah; the Good News and hope of the world. The audience is also to future believers who are yet to become disciples.
The issue Jesus was addressing goes to the heart of what making disciples and being a disciple looks like. The challenge is to ensure we do not get distracted from the purity of His teaching and focus on making disciples that follow Him.