Does the thought of evangelism and making disciples make you, well, nervous? You know you should, but it just feels too intimidating. Perhaps you’ve never connected Jesus’ authority to His command to make disciples.
John Piper makes the connection for us:
Without this declaration of Jesus’ authority, we could never venture confidently to make disciples. On what possible basis do we have any right to tell anybody they should change their whole way of thinking and acting and become a disciple of Jesus Christ? Only one thing could justify such outlandish proselytizing all over the world—that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and has been given an absolute authority over natural and supernatural forces so that every human and every angelic being will give an account to him. If Jesus has that kind of authority, then we Christians not only have the right but are bound by love to tell other people to change and become his disciples. And Jesus does have that kind of authority, or else he is a deceiver or this book (the Bible) so distorts his portrait that we don’t know who he was. But to call Jesus a deceiver and to call this book a distortion are both unwarranted accusations. Therefore, this man has all authority in heaven and on earth; more than President Reagan, more than Mr. Andropov, more than the military-industrial complex, more than all the CEOs of all the corporations in the world put together. He is the absolute sovereign of the universe, and one way or the other every knee will bow to him.
And therefore—notice the word in verse 19—therefore, those who bend the knee of allegiance to his authority have from him the right and the power to go and make disciples everywhere. The command to go make disciples is not arbitrary. It is reasonable. Jesus did not say, “Do it because I told you, and that’s it.” He said, “Do it because all authority is mine.” Nothing is more reasonable and more loving than to plead with the rebellious creatures of Jesus Christ that they turn and give their devotion to the King of kings who will have the last say in this world.”
(For Piper’s full sermon, “Go and Make Disciples, Baptizing Them…,” go here.)
Piper’s connection between Jesus’ authority and Jesus’ command is important to remember as we seek to make disciples. Without this realization, we will shrink back in fear. However, by trusting in Jesus’ words, we can engage others with the confidence that the King of the universe is with us and for us. This is part of what we want to remind each other of at the Multiply Gathering.