Go Make Disciples

David Bast

Read: Matthew 28:16-20

Make disciples of all nations. (v. 19)

I heard about a megachurch in the United States that wanted to obey the Great Commission. In fact, they wanted to fulfill it all by themselves. They read online that there are 195 countries in the world. So they organized teams to go and do a weeklong evangelistic blitz in each of them. Makes me think of the apostle’s words concerning his fellow Jews: “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2).

There are two problems with this approach to the Great Commission. One is that it misunderstands the meaning of “nation.” Jesus wasn’t talking about countries as we think of them–those different colored shapes on the world map, separated by lines and symbolized by flags. He was talking about ta ethne: ethnic groups, tribes, peoples. Uganda, with 30 million people, has 51 different tribal groups, each with its own language or dialect. Indonesia, another Words of Hope ministry field, has more than 700. And still another country where we work, India, has more tribes and languages than those other two countries put together. The Lord intends that every one of those “nations” should be reached with the gospel.

The second mistake is in thinking that our goal is to evangelize the world. But proclaiming the gospel is only the first step. Jesus didn’t say, “Win converts who believe in me.” He said, “Make disciples who obey me.” Our Persian leader put it bluntly: “Don’t evangelize if you won’t disciple.”

—David Bast

Lord, use me somehow in your mission to the nations.