Many Christians believe that Jesus’ sole purpose in coming to earth was the cross. To live a perfect life, die, conquer death, be raised back to life. But consider His words before he was arrested.
I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do (John 17:4).
Completing the word God gave Him to do? What is that about?
Go and make disciples. ~Matthew 28:19
Matthew 28:19-20 is known as the Great Commission. Yet it can sit like a pile of fear and shame-filled bricks on the hearts of American Christians. A close look at the original grammar reveals that the main verb, our Lord’s primary command, in the passage is make disciples.
But what does that practically look like?
The New Testament writers
The Apostles and New Testament churches took Jesus’s words to heart. Luke writes in Acts 2 verses 42 and 46, All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer…. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity (New Living Translation).
The apostle Paul advises Titus to promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. . . . Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God…. they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching (Titus 2:1–8, NLT).
The Old Testament law
These principles permeate the Bible as far back as the law given to Moses.
Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9, NLT).
Our lives are to be so filled with God and His Word that we cannot help but overflow with Him when we work, when we spend time with our families, and when we talk with our friends.
Back to Jesus’ Completed Work
But if we want to emulate Jesus, we should be purposeful in our disciple-making. The New Testament reveals that thousands upon thousands listened to Jesus during His three years of ministry. Hundreds followed Him. Yet He focused smaller.
“Jesus mentored twelve guys for three years. It’s well documented [in the Bible] … by four different authors, two of which were eyewitnesses and products of His mentoring process. If there’s anything we should be able to learn from Jesus and replicate in our own lives, it’s mentoring. We have a documented model with proven results” (Regi Campbell, Mentor Like Jesus).
And back to Jesus’ prayer
What was this work from the Father that Jesus had already completed? He mentored. Take a look.
I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me (John 17:6–8, NLT).
“The disciples were ready to go and make disciples themselves; all they needed was the Holy Spirit. If Jesus had died on the cross for our sins but had not made disciples who could deliver the message, none [of] us would have heard the good news” (Jim Putnam, Real-Life Discipleship).
Mentoring is an opportunity to stretch and grow with another person. ~Sue Edwards, Organic Mentoring
The word mentoring conjures up all kinds of scary images in our hearts and minds, but the truth is much simpler. It is nothing more than loving another person enough to point them to Jesus, encourage godly habits, and share what you’ve learned on your own path toward becoming more like Jesus.
You don’t need a doctorate or the ability to argue the finer points of theology. A thorough grasp of apologetics is not required, and no one expects you to get up on stage and speak to the congregation on Sunday morning. Just be willing to open your life and love someone well.
Participate with God. Pray that He opens your eyes to the person He most wants you to affect right now, who will also have the opportunity to affect you.
Read More: Mentoring for Life
Mentoring is a big deal, but it’s truly not as scary as our enemy wants us to think it is. I wrote a curriculum to walk people through the basics of what mentoring looks like, adding in several tips for the more difficult pieces like working with different personalities and handling conflict.
This is not available anywhere online, but if you want to know more, send me an email at Contact@CarrieDaws.com.
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