“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations . . .”
Jesus spent the three years of His ministry teaching the disciples he had selected. He instructed about healing and how to preach and minister to a crowd. He also taught them parables which gave examples of how to treat one’s fellow man. Pharisaic Judaism had very strict guidelines about what to wear, what to eat and laws they should follow. Jesus’s purpose was to show both the Gentiles and the Jews a better way, i.e., the way to a relationship with God and life eternal. Jesus emphasized doing good work and helping others rather than following the restrictions of the law. Here in verse 19, Jesus challenges his followers to seek out those whom they can teach and to make more disciples. These new disciples can in turn preach, minister and grow the kingdom for Jesus.
Does this verse apply to you and me? Well, of course it does. Why would Jesus want us to “Go” somewhere and make more disciples? In this cosmopolitan world of ours, there are countless individuals who have not heard of Jesus. Even those who have heard may not have decided yet if Jesus is real or to be believed. Some people really don’t think about anything but the “here and now”; an “eternity with or without Jesus” isn’t their concern. Where does this verse indicate we should “go”? While “anywhere” seems like a silly answer, it really is the practical one. We see neighbors, grocery clerks, the postman, the dentist, nurses, teachers, fellow diners at a restaurant, repairmen, sports enthusiasts—all who need to know Jesus. What happens if we don’t go or tell?
Some people may never have heard the Gospel of Jesus or a direct, explicit invitation to follow Him. If we do follow the directive of Jesus, we will have fulfilled His charge to us and directed a soul to Heaven. Are we doing everything we can to give hope to those who are hopeless without Jesus?