It’s Finished! Now Go…
At the end of Mark 15, all of Jesus’ disciples are hopeless. They’ve just run away from Jesus, and now he’s dead. Jesus, who they’ve given their lives to, looks like he’s disappointed them. But then in Mark 16, we see Jesus raised from the dead. We see new hope. We see Jesus meeting his disciples at their lowest place and infusing with life changing hope. And then he gives them a new command. We see it in Matthew 28: 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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
So as Jesus brings hope into these guys’ lives, did you notice what he pushes them toward. He says, “I’m risen from the dead. Everything’s changed. You have new life and purpose. Now go. Go into all the world with this news.” The hope that Jesus brings into their lives fuels them being sent out into the rest of the world. HOPE FUELS MISSION. The hope that Jesus gives you isn’t just for you and your life. The resurrection hope that Jesus brought changed their lives, yes. It gave them more joy and peace than anything else could ever give, yes. But then Jesus says that this hope should fuel what they DO with the rest of our life.
And they did. They believed it, were transformed by it, and hope led to action. Specifically, it was the action of taking the good news, the gospel, into the rest of the world so that everyone knew about who Jesus is and what he did. Every single one of these 11 guys took the gospel to the ends of the earth.
None of them accepted Jesus into their heart and lived out the rest of their lives just like they were living before. None of them punched their ticket into heaven by believing in Jesus and then lived the American dream. Each one of them poured their lives out serving their King, telling others about him and inviting them into his Kingdom. Because that’s what the life of a disciple looks like.
Maybe Jesus’ resurrection hasn’t fueled you in the same way that it did these disciples. A lot of times we hear this Great Commission of Matthew 28 and we don’t think too hard about it anymore. But I want to make 6 observations about it that apply to every disciple of Jesus this morning.
This isn’t just for some disciples. This isn’t just for missionaries who move to other countries. This isn’t just for people who have a gift of evangelism. Some of the disciples stayed right there in Jerusalem. Others went to Africa and Asia. None of them had seminary degrees. They weren’t the smartest dudes. They didn’t even have exceptional faith, they were just cowering in fear. But this is the group that Jesus first commands to go. That shows us what our command is right now. If you’re a disciple of Jesus, he’s commanding you this morning: Go. Go and make disciples of all people. It’s not optional. You can’t give your life to Jesus and not do this. It’s your job description as a disciple.
Have you been neglecting it? Maybe you’ve been going, but not to all people. Maybe you’ve just been going to people who look like you. But the command of Jesus is to go to every ethnic group, every social class, every personality time, even people you don’t like. Disciples of Jesus aggressively go into communities, neighborhoods, countries that are diverse and different, even dangerous. Because the command of Jesus doesn’t come with a disclaimer for our comfort. Jesus doesn’t call his disciples to go where they’re comfortable. Maybe you haven’t been going on our summer missions trip because we go to places that aren’t comfortable to you. Maybe you only move to neighborhoods where you’re comfortable. Maybe you’ve been totally ignoring this command of Jesus.
You’ve been sent on mission by the King of your life. How are you gonna obey him?
However you’re gonna do it, you’re not called to go alone. Second, this command is Communal. He’s talking to all of his disciples. He’s saying, “You guys go.” Go together. This should be the mindset of the whole church, that we are on mission together to share the beauty of Jesus with everyone. This is bit of what our next sermon series is gonna be about. We’ve been on this journey with Jesus through all of Mark, and now at the end here Jesus is sending his disciples out on this new journey. So what’s the destination? What destination are we shooting for together. If we’re all in a boat, rowing together, what are we going toward? We’re going to be looking at Galatians 5 to tell us. That’s where Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit. Those are the characteristics of the lives of disciples of Jesus that should be growing in each of us. Those are the characteristics that God has placed us in each other’s lives to help cultivate. And those are the characteristics that our friends, family, and neighbors will see and be drawn to Jesus. And we’re moving toward them together as a church. Are you? Are you in that boat with us? It’s why the author of Hebrews says not to neglect meeting together as the church. Because we’re on a journey together, and we need each other to get to this destination that God is taking us to.
This command is Concentrated. Make disciples. That’s what Jesus is after: disciples. Not just converts. He doesn’t just want a bunch of hands to go up at an alter call. He wants people who are journeying with him in all of life. Guys that means that when people come to Jesus, put their faith in him, our job as the church has just begun. Because the first step in discipleship in conversion. The rest of discipleship takes place through a long life of learning to follow Jesus in the context of a local church.
So how are you doing at making disciples of Jesus? Whose life are you investing in; showing what it means to follow Jesus? Guaranteed God’s put someone in your life to do this for. Because it’s what he’s called all of us to do.
This is continual. This command could be translated, “As you’re going…” It’s not a one time thing, like going on one missions trip or telling your friend one time that you’re going on a hike with some friends from the church and inviting them to come. Hey, I did my part right? Check off that box. But it’s a continual command. As you’re going, as you’re living your life, be making disciples. It’s a description of what Jesus did: he left his home; he moved to our world; he took on our flesh; and he never let it go. He still has it. He’s still human, even in his resurrection. Jesus totally identified with us; he totally identified with the place he moved to.
Where’s God calling you to totally identify with? Maybe it’s right here in West Oahu; you’ve been called to join the mission of our church to do your part to make sure that everyone in Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, and West Oahu hears and sees the beauty of Jesus. Or maybe he’s calling you to Vietnam or Japan, where we support churches who have the same mission for their communities. Maybe you have no idea where God’s calling you to live this out continually, and you’re realizing that you need to start praying and asking God that question. We’d gladly send you to where God IS calling you. And we would gladly have you join us if God is calling you to reach this community.
It’s not a casual call to just hope that something happens as you live your life. Jesus has a plan for how disciples are going to be made: baptise them; teach them. There’s a plan here. We sometimes resist making plans when it comes to evangelism or mission, because it seems disingenuous, like it’s all about a structure or a system. But Jesus says MAKE disciples. It’s work. Jesus sought out his disciples. He didn’t wait for them to come to him. He did work with them for 3 years.
So I would actually argue that not to have a plan for how you’re gonna make disciples is actually unloving. To just hope that it happens or that God drops someone in your lap is unloving to others. We make aggressive plans for the things we love. We have plans for how to raise our kids; what kinds of food we’re gonna give them, what school we want them to go to. We make plans for our finances because we love our own security and comfort. We plan for what we love. Do you have a plan for how you’re gonna make disciples of people in your family? Your friends? Your neighbors?
Because it’s only gonna happen if we’re intentional. But…
That means that we’ve been entrusted with a power that’s not our own. That’s what a commissioning is. It’s not all on us to make it happen. Jesus says remember, I’m with you always, wherever you go and do this. Jesus is always with you, as you’re going. Maybe you’re wondering how in the world you could do this. How in the world can I bring Jesus to all these people in my life?
But what he says here should give us massive hope. Because it’s Jesus who’s gonna do it through his disciples. As you interact with your family and friends, It’s gonna be God working through you to make more disciples of Jesus.
Do you have the transforming hope of Jesus’ resurrection? Has it given you new hope?
Then go. Go into all the world, and make more disciples.