Having Gone

Having Gone

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

I’ve been doing a little research into Matthew 28:19 – 20. Most of you know those verses as the Great Commission, where Jesus tells his followers to “Make disciples of all nations.” The English versions of the Bible usually say something like, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” There’s nothing wrong with that translation, but it seems to me a more literal rendering might be better to get the point across.
As I see the original language, and with the help of Greek experts, it seems to me that Jesus really said, “Having gone, therefore, disciple all the nations…” Now, the idea is similar, I admit. But the wording carries with it a slightly different feel.
“Having gone,” carries with it the idea that we all “have gone” into the world. The aorist tense generally carries with it a one-time past event rather than a continual process. Jesus assumes that his disciples will have gone into the world. “OK,” he seems to be saying. “Now that you’ve gone into the world, here is what you are to do…disciple all of the nations…”
And notice that he doesn’t say to make disciples in all the nations…but rather that his followers are to “disciple the nations.” That implies to me a command to carry this discipling business farther than to just a few people here and there. Rather, whole nations are to be turned to God through the discipling process. And no nation is to be left undiscipled. The Greek is specific with that word “all.” No nation is to be left out.
I don’t know about you, but this gives me a whole ‘nuther way to look at this verse. Yes, the basic message is the same. But there are some things about the Greek in this verse that lend a new meaning to a very familiar verse. We would do well to take in what Jesus said here and incorporate it into our lives.
First, we are to have already gone into the world. We are not to live cloistered lives devoid of any contact with the outside. We are to already be an active part of the world we live in.
Second, we are to carry the message of Christ to the world in anticipation of discipling entire nations. Not just a few people here and there, but whole nations can be beneficiaries of the Good News.
Third, we are to not leave out any nation…any people…any tongue. We are to disciple ALL nations.
Sometimes, people can individually have a great impact on many hundreds, and even thousands and millions of other people. Most of the time, however, people need to band together and help each other. Such seems to be the nature of the way this command is fulfilled as well. Most all of us need each other…need the family of God…and need to be helpful ourselves, in fulfilling this command to disciple all the nations.
With all that we have to do in life that seems to get in the way, I have to wonder just how much we think of this command and how it might apply to us. I trust I have encouraged you to take a fresh look at this charge of the Risen Lord and that in doing, it renews your desire to better fulfill this, his last command to his followers.

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