16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
From the time of Christ's Ascension to now, this command to make disciples of all nations has been carried out by countless generations of men and women from various backgrounds and nations. And the only sure promise that these ambassadors of faith carried with them was Jesus' own promise that He would be with them.
When we reflect on the command and the promise, we realize that these two go together. To make disciples is only possible because of Jesus. Therefore, without Jesus no disciple of Jesus could ever be made. His presence -- His Spirit -- is absolutely essential to the task of making disciples. Making disciples is what Jesus does. And He is good at it.
Sometimes we think too highly of ourselves, not necessarily in the sense of self-importance, but in the sense that we think it's really up to us how things turn out. That it is really up to us to make disciples of nations. That it is really up to us that the nations are reached. That it is really up to us to plant and build churches. When, in actual fact, all these things noted just now are the result of the work of the Resurrected Christ working through people.
This same command and promise is true of our own lives. We might think it is up to us individually to make things happen, including our own healing and maturation. But the truth again is that it is the Spirit of God working in us to bring about change. We are certainly involved. But the inspiration and original power to bring about these changes come from a source other than ourselves -- it is the One who said, "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we thank you that you are with us to the end of the age. We confess that there is so much ahead of us to accomplish -- making disciples of all nations -- besides the daily tasks and life goals that we have. Help us to remember that you are with us, meaning that your Presence is with us. You are committed to us! And so, we remember today that because you are with us and that you are committed to us, we will step out with bold confidence and see that the work of the day will get done, for your glory and our joy! In Your Name, Amen.