I keep going back to the commissions at the end of Matthew and Mark. I don’t do it purposefully, but my mind wants to pit these two commands of Jesus against each other. What do I mean? Let’s take a look…
The Matthew Text: ”Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18,19,20
It’s clear that the commission here is to “Make Disciples.” The means by which that is done are “Going,” “Teaching to obey all that Christ commanded,” and “baptizing.” Fair enough.
The Markan Text: “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.“
It’s clear that the commission here is to “Evangelize.” The means by which that is done are “going” and preaching the good news.
It’s easy to see how so many can erroneously cleave evangelism & discipleship by pitting these two commissions against one another. I am prone to do the same. Then it struck me…
What if the “Evangelism” part of “Making Disciples” was in the “Go” of the Great Commission? What if the making of disciples requires evangelism? It just doesn’t make sense to say the reverse, that evangelism requires the making of disciples. Maybe we can dump the idea that says, first we evangelize people, then we disciple them.
Isaiah wrote, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 In order for the good news to be brought, someone had to go. With this thinking, my desire to cleave these commissions into distinct actions almost disappears. There is however, a slight problem. I remain somewhat unconvinced. So, am I reaching too far, or does it sound right to you?