To the End of the Age
And Jesus came to them and said, “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
This sending out of the disciples by Jesus in what we commonly call, “The Great Commission” is a perfect blend of the horizontal and the vertical. It begins and ends with the vertical. Jesus speaks of His authority as the basis for this commission. He closes it with the assurance of His presence with them as they move to accomplish their task. Without His authority and His presence, it was simply an overwhelming assignment with no hope of fulfillment. The Great Commission, with its worldwide focus was and is all about Jesus.
Though it couldn’t happen without the vertical, it wouldn’t happen without horizontal obedience. The disciples (and us) were given clear marching orders. There are things for us to do that are going to impact this world forever. With clarity, Jesus gave four action steps: go . . . make disciples . . . baptize . . . teach. No amount of theological discussion can blur His words.
Jesus balances this so powerfully. We don’t just pray and meditate on the Great Commission. We go, make disciples, baptize, and teach. But we don’t jump into this on our own, without being under His authority and desperately needing His presence. In those places where prayer goes first, the gospel goes with greater effectiveness and power.
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: Lord Jesus, thank You for understanding us so well. You knew of our need for purpose and have allowed us to be a part of what You are doing on this planet. You knew of our need for intimacy and promised us Your presence. You knew of our need for dependence and placed us under Your authority. Thank You Lord! Help us in these days to finish the task You gave us so many years ago. Strengthen me to do the task You have called me to.
- Go—whether to another nation or in your own neighborhood . . . God calls us to go into the world. If you have not yet heard clearly from God where or to whom you should be “going,” or if you do not feel comfortable sharing Christ with others, just make this a regular prayer: Lord Jesus, give me Your heart for the lost.
- Make Disciples—Begin to pray about mentoring others if you are not currently doing so. Who is God calling you to come alongside and help take a step closer to Jesus? It can be your own children, friends, someone you work with or go to school with. Connect with whomever God puts on your heart and ask if he or she would like to commit to grow toward Christ-likeness together?
- Baptize—Many people who would acknowledge that they have accepted Jesus have not yet taken the step of obedience to be baptized. If you know someone who loves Jesus but who has not yet obeyed Scripture, start a conversation about it. Tell your own story and why you feel strongly about taking this step.
- Teach—People are watching you. Your life is a teaching tool that can transform the life of another simply by what they see when you handle the everyday stuff of life. Consider how you handle the things that life throws at you . . . do you respond horizontally (fear, frustration, anger) or do you respond out of a vertical lifestyle (forgiveness, peace, grace, joy)? Be aware of what others see in you during day to day life and look toward examples of Jesus as you react.
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.