I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.
[This is the third of four reflections on this scripture where Jesus gives his disciples their final instructions before he ascends into heaven.]
After Jesus is crucified he returns and gives his disciples some final instructions. He tells them to go and “disciple” people by baptizing and teaching them. Today I’m going to look at his second instruction – to teach people to obey Jesus’ commands. We aren’t instructed to teach them to believe in him. We are instructed to teach them to believe in what he had to say. His commands.
What are Jesus’ commands? Simple enough. He pretty much outlines all of his basic teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. I explored the Sermon on the Mount in depth on Days 7-63. These are the commands that he thinks are important. On that last day, he tells us to build our house on the rock (truth) as opposed to sand (delusions). Jesus’ teachings are the rock solid foundation that will bring us peace, happiness, and fulfilment. They will also create a healthy, nurturing, prosperous society. When we individually or collectively build on sand, we are in danger of being swept away. For your convenience I am re-posting my Sermon on the Mount “Quick Start Guide” from Day 63. Here it is:
I would also add another couple of foundational teachings to the basic commands Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount. I think his very last teaching on Day 228 in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is also foundational:
- Feed the hungry.
- Give the thirsty something to drink.
- Clothe the naked.
- Take care of the sick.
- Visit those in prison.
Finally, there is the “mother of all commandments” – the Great Commandment from Day 193:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40).
Look at that last line again and let that sink into your spirit. “The whole Law of Moses and teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Love, my friends, is what it’s all about. Jesus wants us to go out and teach people how to love. That’s his command to us. He doesn’t want us to teach theology. He wants us to teach people about the power and importance of love. As followers of Jesus this is our mission.
What does this scripture say to you?