Don’t Miss This in the Great Commission
One of the foundational verses in my endeavor in disciple-making is the Great Commission:
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
I’ve heard of this passage countless times, since my church’s mission is anchored in the Great Commission. I’ve also written a few blogs on the topic and even taught on this at a youth service. But I think I still missed something. Let’s go to back to the passage again:
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… (Emphasis added)
Observe? Yes, that word (obey in NIV). And honestly, I’ve been overlooking this word until only recently.
So what does this mean? It means that we are not only to teach disciples all that Jesus has commanded, but to teach them to observe them. Jesus wants disciples who practice His commands.
Interestingly, the word observe (tereo) appears in the following verses:
15“If you love me, you will keep [tereo] my commandments. (John 14:15)
21Whoever has my commandments and keeps [tereo] them, he it is who loves me. (John 14:21a)
23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep [tereo] my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep [tereo] my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14:23-24)
10If you keep [tereo] my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept [tereo] my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:10)
3And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep [tereo] his commandments. 4Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep [tereo] his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps [tereo] his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. (1 John 2:3-5a)
3For this is the love of God, that we keep [tereo] his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
To observe what Jesus has commanded is to keep them. And why does the Great Commission pushes us to make disciples, teaching them to observe Jesus’ commandments? It’s because a true disciple of the Lord Jesus will keep His commandments as a form of love to Him. We want to make true disciples of Jesus, someone who loves Him and keeps His commands. Don’t we?
So I challenge disciple-makers not only to teach their disciples the Bible, but also to teach them observe (or keep, or obey) them.