Chapter 7


Make Disciples of Every Nation


            The first half of what we call the Great Commission is "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."  The other four commissions have dealt with healing various aspects of individual lives.  Now we are told to make disciples.  Making disciples leads to the creation of communities.  The communities mark the establishment of outposts of the Kingdom of God in the world.

            If we are to live as aliens in a hostile land, we need to live in communities that are in some sense already related to the Kingdom of God.  We are to become the communities wherein God is known, and to which He can add those who are to be healed and brought into the Kingdom He has prepared for them. 

            When God saw fit to begin the call of the human race to Himself, He began with Abram, whose name means exalted father.  He made His covenant with Abram, and when Abram responded with acceptance, God changed his name to Abraham, whose name means father of a multitude.  God indicates in the changing of Abram's name that He intends to relate to humanity in terms of communities as well as individuals.  In Abraham all of the nations of the world would be blessed. 

            The Covenant was a covenant of promise, and it was not fulfilled in Abraham's lifetime, as the author of Hebrews points out, "If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Heb 11:15 

            God made a second Covenant with Israel, the descendant of Abraham.  When the children of Israel were being brought out of Egypt by Moses, God made the Covenant of the Torah, the Law that gave them a set of parameters within which they might live and please Him.  The Torah is often misunderstood.  People believe that it is a work to be done to receive a reward of a good life.  Actually the Torah is the definition of the good life.  The reward for keeping the Law is in the life that issues from keeping the Law.  He first called them to be His people, in Abraham.  Next He told them how His people would live, if they desired to enjoy the good life of His Kingdom.

            The people of Israel did, in fact inherit the land of Canaan.  The people of Israel did not, in fact, keep their end of the Covenant, and so they ran into periodic difficulty with a God who insisted on their steadfast obedience, yet allowed them the consequences of their actions.  God repeatedly picked them up when they repented and cried out to Him.  When they became affluent, and no longer needed Him, they would turn away to other gods.  He would punish them for their apostasy.  He would use one of the neighboring countries to bring them back into bondage until they were duly repentant.  The Book of Judges recites this cyclical movement in the life and history of the people of God.  He raised up Deborah to deliver them from Canaan.  He raised up Gideon to deliver them from Midian.  He raised up Samson to deliver them from the Philistines.

            When the people turned away and followed other gods, He sent them prophets.  God did not use the normal means of guidance and direction with His people.  He forbade the use of the occult systems of guidance.  Spiritualism, astrology, auguries, and the rest of the commonly used means at the time, were rejected.  Prophets were raised up to be the mouth of God, speaking to His people in community.  They called the people of God to repent, and turn back to the Lord who was going to prepare a day of judgment in which He would judge the nations and bring His Kingdom. 

            The great burden of the prophets was not a call to moral behavior.  It was a call to repentance.  It was a call to turn away from their harlotry of worshipping other gods, and returning to their husband who had loved them and brought them out of Egypt.  He wanted, and wants, His people to be His, and His alone.  He wants to provide for them, as He alone can provide.

            The other common theme of the prophets was the Day of Yahweh.  There would be a day when God would come and make all things "right."  Isaiah would even say, "I create a new heaven and a new earth."  The imagery John uses in Revelation, is not something new.  Nearly every image John uses can be found in the prophets of the Old Testament.

            When God spoke His Word into the flesh of Mary, He made a New Covenant with His people that was radically different from the Covenant of the Torah.  Torah had called them to obedience to the Law, which they could not keep.  This new covenant was one in which He would furnish the grace they needed.  He would not give them a Law written on stone.  He would write His Law in their hearts that they might know Him, and walk in His will, as His will was known within them.  When Jeremiah speaks of the new covenant, he said, "I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor, and each his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer 31:33ff

            It was a new expression of the Covenant that He made with Abraham.  He opened the way into the New Creation of which the prophets had spoken.  He took our failure to keep the demands of the Law, and nailed it to a cross.  He opened the way for Holy Spirit to come into human flesh that He might transform us into His children, in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

            Jesus did, in fact, keep and fulfill the Law.  He also fulfilled the prophets.  His birth marked the Day of Yahweh.  Human flesh was brought into conformity to the will of God, and the Kingdom of God was at hand.  Jesus life, death and resurrection  marked the beginning of the last days.  It was the inbreaking of a New Creation wherein the Law would give way to grace.  The people of God would be redefined.  They would no longer be His because they were descendants of Abraham.  They would be His because they were in some sense grafted into the Body of His only-begotten Son.  They would become His children by adoption and grace.

            The initial revelation indicated that there was some confusion about who was eligible to be the children of God.  The phrases from Matthew which say, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel," when He speaks to the Syro-Phonecian woman, or "Go only to the House of Israel," when He sends out His disciples to preach and heal.  Luke insists that He comes to all men, and even includes a section in His Gospel which speaks of Jesus' ministry to the Samaritans.

            The issue was settled later in the experience of Peter when he was sent to the household of Cornelius.  Paul and Barnabas, found it when they were led to turn to teach the Gentiles when the Jews of the Diaspora rejected the Gospel.  The issue was not settled by either Peter or Paul, but by the Council that met in Jerusalem to seek the Lord's will in the matter.  It was a Council which could write, "I seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us..."  It was a mark of God still speaking to the church as they struggled to live under His rule as an extension of His Kingdom.  It was not a matter of individual judgment.  It was the judgment of the community.

            The Church began to be known in two major images, a family and a body.  The first was the image of a family.  Jesus was not simply the Son of God; He was God the Son.  That was not simply a matter of semantics to the early Christians, it was vital revelation.  Anyone who was obedient to God was a son of God.  Jesus was more than an obedient human.  He was God in human flesh.  Paul could write, "In Him the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell." Col 1:19

            He came to make us the children of God.  If one is looking for some of the new teaching on the Christian family, he will have to look to other sources than the teaching of Jesus on the family.  Jesus saw the family of God as superseding any other family ties.  Those who received the Word of God, and sought to obey it, were His family.  He could tell those who told Him that His own family was looking for Him, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother." Mk 3:34,35

            Matthew is a little rougher on the family when he writes, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household.  He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take up his cross, and follow me is not worthy of me." Mt 10:34-38

            The imagery we find in John's Gospel in the recorded visit with Nicodemus gives us another look at the situation.  "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Jn 3:5,6  Not only are we to become members of a new family, it is a matter of becoming a new creature.  We are not to remain the same.  It is not a matter of moving out of the house and moving in with another household.  It is a matter of becoming a child of God in His household. 




            All of our relationships are superseded by this one.  God has no grandchildren.  He only has children.  We are not the children of God because we have Abraham as our father, but because we are born of God by water and Holy Spirit.  We are not sent to simply get people to make some audible commitment.  We are to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  They are to be incorporated into the family of God as new babes in Christ, even though they might still be adults in the flesh. 1 Cor 3:1

            Incorporation into the family of God is our entrance into a community of brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is not simply a ticket to heaven; it is our new birth into God's Kingdom.  The church has argued over the nature and mode of baptism from the early days; but she has always insisted on its importance.  Even when Cornelius and his household had received Holy Spirit, water baptism was still required. Acts 10:47

            It is through baptism that we are incorporated into the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, just as it is by circumcision that the Jews are incorporated into the Covenant of Abraham.  There is a sense in which we are called to die with Christ, that we might be raised up with Him.  That is Paul's imagery of Baptism that we find in the sixth chapter of Romans.  "For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His." Rm 6:5  We are to see that that new disciples are  incorporated into the community of faith where they might become disciples of Jesus, and not simply of some evangelist.

            It is in the community that people find Jesus.  It is in the Body that people find the Head.  It is our concern that people realize that they are not brought into the church to be put on hold until they die and go into outer space to heaven.  They are to know God now.  Jesus is not simply in outer space at the right hand of the Father.  He is here in the midst of His people.  "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," is the last line of the Great Commission of which we are writing.




            The second image used for the church is that of a body.  No provision was made in either Testament for individual people of God apart from the community of God's people who are present in the world.  Whether they are the children of Abraham or the Body of Christ, community is essential.  The Scriptures do not deal with individual or community.  They deal with individuals in community.  God uses individuals to establish a people unto Himself.  Even when He told Moses He would destroy the Israelites and prosper Moses, it was to raise up a people unto Himself.

            In the New Testament community is even more important because the it is the flesh that Jesus wears to continue His work.  He began His work in the flesh that He received from His mother, Mary.  He continues His work in our flesh as we become available to Him.  There is always the idea of an individual in community.  It would seem that there is dissent in agreement among the individuals from time to time, but not division.  There is the clear understanding that I am not isolated in Christ.  I can never separate myself from you, nor can you separate yourself from me, unless we are also willing to be separated from Jesus Christ.

            The one exception that I find to this principle is the man in Corinth who was guilty of sexual sin "of a kind that is not found even among pagans."  He was an individual who was to be removed from the community, but even his removal was for the purpose of his reconciliation.  Historically, the church has used excommunication as a means of disciplining those whose sin causes others to stumble in their own faith.  I

            It is not clear whether Paul's concern over the sin was greater or lesser than his concern over the arrogance of the people in Corinth who apparently said, "Hey, this is really good."  The admonition to cast him out was not for the purpose of separation, but for ultimate union.  "you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." I Cor 5:1-5

            The traditional church's use of excommunication never casts a person out of the church without leaving a door open for reentry, as Paul demonstrates when he enjoins the Corinthians to, "turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  So I beg you reaffirm your love for him." 2Cor 2:7,8 

            The community must see that it is not to try to pull the tares out of the wheat field.  It is to pray that the tares be transformed into wheat.  Each of us has been through that transformation as we have answered the call to give up our kingdom of self to enter the community of the Body of Christ.  The clay does not tell the potter what to make of it.  Neither does the Body tell the Head what to do with it.  We are not disciples of one another.  We are all disciples of Christ who is the Head.

            When we are called as disciples ourselves, we are drawn into the presence of Jesus to establish a relationship with Him.  We cannot introduce others to someone whom we do not know.  When we come to know Him well enough to say we belong to Him, we may then be sent forth as apostles.  We do not go forth in our own resources.  We are first equipped.  We do not go forth with anyone else's words, or even the words of Scripture, unless they are the words the Head has given us to speak.  When He uses us to speak, we are His mouth speaking the words of Him who sent us.

            Jesus tells us, Holy Spirit is essential to our being equipped to do the job.  We do not labor in our own strength for God.  We labor with God under the direction of, and in the power of Holy Spirit.  It is Holy Spirit that enables the Christian community to come together as a Body equipped with every gift we need while we are waiting for the Day of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

            Luke gives us a fairly clear description of life within this community in the opening chapters of Acts.  They met with each other, and were concerned with the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.  They were largely concerned with their relationship with God, and with one another.  They were learning both by receiving from the Apostles and by living out what they learned in the community.

            Paul's writings bring us a theological under girding for our grasp of the meaning of the community and the power available to us in and through the community.  We are the Body of Christ.  We are members one of another.  If we are to find our identity in Christ Jesus, we are to find it as we share with one another.  We learn even as we live out the life of Jesus Christ in the community of faith.

            In watching the communities in which I have served as priest, I have seen very incompatible people come into community with one another.  They came, not because they were focused on the community, but because they had a need that was not being met in the world, and they had heard something about God through one of the people of the community.  They were not there looking for suitable company, but for a God who might be able to make sense of their lives and heal the dis-ease with which they lived.

            As long as the people's attention was focused on Jesus Christ as the center of the community, the community maintained a bond of acceptance that was unparalleled in the world.  They did not find their unity from a set of common interests, but from a common need.  They needed something more than the world could give them.  They came with a burning desire to try God's touch in their lives to see if He was able to do for them that which they could not do for themselves.

            They did not even come with the idea that they would build a community.  They were drawn as moths to a candle, seeking the light that others had told them was there.  They inevitably found what they were seeking to the extent that they were able to say with the others.  I know God lives because He has touched my life, and I have entered a process of healing that I plan to pursue until I am whole.

            It was when their needs began to find resolution that the community began to disintegrate.  The people began to realize that they were in a community that was of incomparable value to their lives; and so they turned their hearts and minds to preserve it.  They dropped their eyes from the center to the periphery. 

            They began to revert to the ways of the world.  They followed the cycles of Israel when the Lord had raised them from bondage to affluence.  They began to find others who were of like mind, and on whom they could count to support them in the event someone else threatened their turf.  They began to think in terms of we and they rather than just the we.  They began to see the differences rather than the common need that had drawn them into communion with Jesus Christ, and hence with one another.

            They began to note the flaws in the others who were a part of the community, and they set about to correct them.  They began to think in terms of what rules would assure the community's survival.  They began to develop a minimum standard that was demanded of all of the members.  It was an unspoken standard that people just did not talk about, but it invaded the relationships to the extent that they no longer held one another in the same unconditional acceptance as they had in the beginning.

            I recall a woman who called me from a town about fifty miles away from my parish.  She was looking for some help with her family relationships.  Her question was, "Can you help me?"

            My answer was, "I don't know, but I am willing to try.  What is the problem."  When she had related the problem, and made an appointment to come down to my church, I asked, "Just for my information, how did you know to call me?"

            "Someone in my prayer group told me you might be able to help." 

            I am always praying that people who are in need can find the help they need in their own community.  The last thing I want is a following of people who are dependent on me to do their work.  "If you have a prayer group, why don't you ask them to pray for you?

            Her reply was stunning, "They say that if I am a Christian, I should be able to do that for myself."  I had something of the same experience when I had asked a leader of the charismatic renewal to minister to me in the area of deliverance.  "If you are Spirit filled, you can do that yourself," was his response.  I felt completely cut off from all help.  My community with him ended where his judgment began.

            My suggestion to the lady was, "Go back and tell them you are a pagan.  They love to minister to pagans."  Her prayer group community was beginning to become  rigid.  It was beginning to find that phase where the needs of the people were caught up in the desire to conform to some unwritten standard that would make them feel like mature Christians.

            When the sense of community is lost, there is a need to repent.  That is not a popular word, but it is a necessary word.  It does not mean feeling guilty and putting on sack cloth and ashes.  It simply means that we have to raise our eyes to refocus on the Center, and get them off the periphery.  As long as the eyes are kept on the Center, the community stays healthy.  As long as the people of God know that they are loved both infinitely and unconditionally, they are content to love one another as they are loved by God.  Their bond issues from their common need to be loved

            I recall my first experience with such a community and the scripture that most illustrated the life within it was, "Perfect love casteth out fear."  (We still used the KJV in those days.)  When the phase of becoming self conscious and turning from center to periphery occurred, it dawned on me that the corollary is just as true, "Perfect fear casteth out love."  Where fear was shared, eyes fell from Jesus, who is the answer, to the problem which held the fear.  Where people were exhorted by others to be careful, they realized their own inadequacy, and fear entered in.

            The marks of the community that we find in Acts are found in every viable Christian community.  They persist in the Apostles teaching.  They study the Scriptures we have been given.  They study their tradition to see how the Scriptures had been lived in the past.  They seek the direction of Holy Spirit in the present in order that their lives might be formed by the One who formed the character of the Apostles.

            They continue in the fellowship with other people who are seeking the same God.  They seek to share their needs and the grace they have received in trust that God has established the resolution of their problems in their own community.  When the experience of isolation and fear enter, the community breaks down.  It loses its inner cohesiveness, and the love that grows from God's reaching out to their meet their needs and heal their hurts.  When they repent and restore Jesus Christ to the center, the community is restored.  It is more a matter of forgetting our fear about who is in charge and leaving it in the hands of the Head. 

            They share the love that God has given them with those who need love.  They share the things of God with those who have need.  They live in an intimacy that the world cannot emulate because it does not share the love that God has given to the Church, and the world has no effective way of coping with the fear of rejection.  Where the community does not share, where they adopt the standards of the world in an effort to control their common life; they become like the world.  They lose the intimacy that is the mark of God's love for His people.

            The people of the community continue in the breaking of the bread, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, "The bread which we break, is it not our participation in the Body of Christ?  As there is one loaf, we who are many are made one Body."  Whether we take this to mean a potluck supper or a Mass, the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion, it does mean that in some way, as we break bread with one another in the Name and presence of the Lord, we are united to one another in one Body.

            It is this theme that Paul picks up when he warns those who partake of the Lord's Supper without discerning the Body.  It is a practice that we embrace because it brings health to the person who participates and to the Body that is brought into being through the presence of Jesus Christ in the midst of the community.  Whether one is a believer in memorial or Real Presence, we must accept the effect of our participation, or reject the words of Paul.

            The people of the community participate in the prayers.  There are two sorts of prayer just as there are individuals and communities.  There are individual prayers that mark our individual intimacy with Abba.  They are as a child often comes to his Father to share all of his excitement or sorrow.  There is a sort of "I walked in the garden aloneness," that is necessary for our growth and stability.  There is a revealing of our lives to Abba, and a time when Abba reveals His love to us.  This time, called solitude is an essential element in the life of anyone who knows that he is a child of God and desires to know Him better.

            There is also a corporate prayer, whether in the free style of the Pentecostal, the Bible-centered style of the Evangelical or the ordered style of the Catholic, there must be some form of corporate prayer in which the family comes into Abba's presence as a gathered family.  "When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all in one place in one accord.."  As we gather together in worship, we yield ourselves to become the Body of Christ.  We yield ourselves, not only in terms of our individual lives, but as a corporate Body, we offer ourselves to be indwelt by the risen Christ who comes to us in that worship.




            If we take our pattern from the Book of Acts, we may be struck that the church is not simply an aggressive institution competing with other institutions for the lives of people, or an institution dedicated to trying to "save" people.  It is a community of love to which God might add those who are being saved.  The initiative does not lie with us, but with God.  "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him." Jn 6:44

            How then do we go to make disciples?  When Jesus was about to Ascend into heaven, He told His disciples, among other things, "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

            When we become His witnesses there are two ways in which our witness is to be seen.  We will have a witness to what He has done in our own lives.  We will be able to share with others the touch of God in our personal lives.  We can speak of coming to know God, and knowing His love for us.  We can speak of freedom from addictions.  We can speak of deliverance from anger and fear.  We can speak of the healing of our bodies and our relationships.  We can speak of the healing of our minds.  That is our witness to Jesus, and His continuing ministry to us.

            The other side of being His witnesses is His ability to make Himself known through us.  St. Basil said, "When you become God's to the extent that He desires, He will know precisely how to bestow you on others, unless to your greater advantage, He elects to keep you all to Himself."  When we become God's to any great extent, His presence becomes noticeable to others around us.  Our very presence will make them very comfortable, or very uncomfortable, not because of what we say, but because of what we are, and Who it is that lives within us.

            When I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, they had just awarded the Albert Schweitzer Award for religion to Mother Teresa.  In talking with the people who had met her, I was told the same thing by each one of them.  "When she walked into a room, the room changed."  She brought with her the Lord of life, incarnate in her own flesh.  When we are sufficiently His, we are His witnesses wherever we walk.

            Since most of us do not have the grace that exudes from Mother Teresa, it is well that we find another way to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Perhaps evangelism begins as much by listening as talking.  When we listen to people where we walk in the market place, we find that they have fears, and needs, and dis-ease.  It is to these areas of life that we have something to say.

            Our proclamation is not a threat but an invitation.  The Gospel of John echoes that phrase, "Come and see!"  We are to invite anyone who has need to bring that need to the Lord.  We are to offer anyone who has need the prayer support to assist them in bringing their need to the Lord.  The message is not to warn the people to avoid hell.  It is to invite them out of hell into the Kingdom of God, or at least into the outpost in this old creation, which we call the church.

            When I began to write about the alternatives to the Kingdom and hell, I was struck by the fact that some of the evangelists I have heard seem to imply that there is an alternative.  When I am warned to change my ways or go to hell, they imply that I am not already in hell.  I know that I am not already in the Kingdom, so where am I.  I have concluded that for all practical purposes, I started my life in hell, or at least that circumstance in which I was separated from God.  I was born in the likeness of the first Adam.  My need was to get into the Kingdom, in the likeness of the last Adam.

            Jesus makes it clear that He does not come to call anyone who already has it all together.  "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous but sinners." Mk 2:17  We normally read that passage, and proceed to talk about how sinful those scribes were.  As a matter of fact we seem to have a tendency to confess the sins of others rather than our own.  It is when we are aware of our own sin or sickness that we are open to hear the Good News that Jesus Christ has come to do something about the things in our lives that we cannot change in our own strength.

            It is to the weak, or the poor or the needy that we make our invitation.  That has little to do with the amount of money they have in their accounts.  It has to do with the need for grace they have in their lives.  It matters not how gross their lives are as sinners.  It matters how much they are open to trying the remedy that God has for them through the Body of Christ.

            It has been said by some that the church is supposed to be a hospital for sinners, but we have made it a museum for saints.  The truth is that is a hospital for anyone who has need, and can find a way to bring that need before the throne of God.  Our task is to help them find God, and open the way for Him to touch their lives with His healing love.  It is our task to bring them to adoption through the water of baptism, and into the community of His love, where after a time of discipleship, they might find some form of apostleship whereby He sends them into the world as His ambassadors to bring more of His people to Him.




            When we make disciples, we strive to make disciples of Jesus, and not disciples of another human.  Brother Rufus Mosley used to say, "Anyone who makes a disciple of a disciple, makes a disciple of darkness."  The truth of that statement dawned on me long after I heard it.  When I make a disciple of a disciple, there is someone standing between them and the light.  Our task is not to teach people to agree with us; it is to introduce them to Jesus.

            When we realize that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and that Jesus is with us even to the close of the age, we also realize that we are supposed to be carrying our conversation with Him rather than the snake.  The major task of any disciple is to learn to pray.  I recall the pattern of treating people who came into the initial stages of the charismatic movement in the traditional churches. 

            The first thing that the charismatic leaders wanted to do was to put them under a teacher, who would in turn tell them what to believe and what they need to know if they were going to be "real" Christians.  The first thing the "teachers" I heard, wanted to do was to teach them about some new thing that God was doing.  There was little effort spent in teaching them to pray.

            I have never understood how we can ask people to follow Christ as Savior and Lord without teaching them to pray.  We cannot follow anyone with whom we are not in conversation.  The primary thing that we teach disciples is how to pray.  We need to help them find their direction to Abba, and let them know that it is permissible to be children.  They need not be able to pray fluently when they begin; but they will never learn to pray at all without practice.

            When they begin to articulate their prayers, we are to teach them to practice listening to what the Lord is saying to them.  We are to enable them to begin to draw close into that intimacy that Abba intends for all of His children.  It is amazing how much easier it is to grasp the messages of Scripture when we are in conversation with the One who speaks through the words of the Scriptures.

            To make disciples is not just to "save souls."  To make disciples is to bring people to baptism in water, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  To make disciples is to bring people into the fellowship of the community in which the risen Christ is known, not only as Savior, but as Lord.  To make disciples is to bring people into that relationship with Jesus Christ that they might know the one whose disciples they are to become.

            When they become disciples of Jesus, God's Christ, they are equipped by Holy Spirit to become Apostles.  They will be among those who are sent out into the world to proclaim the Kingdom of God, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to teach, and to make more disciples.  The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, "Pray therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest."  Pray, therefore, to know Jesus Christ, and to make Him known.

            We do not have to become proficient in our own walk before we go out to share the presence of Jesus Christ.  The lady at the well in Sychar had barely met Jesus, but she had something to share with the town, and with that experience she ran into the village to say, "Come and see a man who told me all that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?" 

            She did not seek to make them her disciples, and tell them what to believe and what experience to seek.  Instead she led them to the One she had encountered, and they were able to see for themselves.  That is our commission.  Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them.  Bring them into the presence of the risen Lord who is able to transform their lives, and grant them entrance into the Kingdom of God today.