The Great Commission - Matthew 28:18-20

As we are getting ready for a great summer of Rodeo Bible Camps I thought that it would be good to present a quick study on why we do what we do at the camps.

As you have undoubtedly studied in the past the last major teaching that the Lord Jesus gave His disciples was what we commonly refer to as the Great Commission.  The most familiar teaching on the Great Commission usually centers on Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (New English Translation)

The ordinary theme that most focus on when studying this passage is “going.”  Others focus frequently on the importance of “baptizing” and “teaching” in this passage.  While all three of these actions are immensely important the Greek structure of this passage places an emphasis on the phrase “make disciples.”  In fact, the idea of making disciples is the only imperative or command found in this passage. 

An interesting result of a quick word study shows that the Greek word used for the command “make disciples” is a verb form of the noun that is translated in the book of Matthew as “disciples.”  Matthew always uses that same specific word in reference only to The Twelve disciples of Jesus.  I share this brief grammar lesson to present a simple point:  Jesus was telling us that the pattern for discipleship in the Great Commission was His work with The Twelve.

Jesus’ command, in the Great Commission, is to make disciples.

If we are to make disciples the way that Jesus did then we are going to pour our lives into those that we have ministry relationships with.  The Lord Jesus trained His disciples both academically and practically as they studied and served Him for three and a half years.  By that we can see that real discipleship takes time and relationship equity.  It is not something that can be accomplished in one weekend or at only a few church services. 

True discipleship is accomplished through a long-term relationship.

As we look toward the Rodeo Bible Camp season and a great summer of serving the Lord it is important to remember that our greatest priority should be to seek out discipleship relationships.  Whether camp students or contestants that we meet at a rodeo we should be honestly committed to maintaining a relationship that the Lord can use to encourage their walk with Christ. 

In the Rodeo Bible Camp world the natural way discipleship works is with the team leaders or counselors keeping up with their campers throughout the year.  It doesn’t have to stop there; instructors and other camp volunteers can do the same thing.  If the Lord can use you to influence a student or family with the Word and your relationship during the week of camp then He can use you in an even greater way throughout the rest of the year. 

My encouragement is this:  Keep up those relationships and you will make disciples!

If you would like to study further I encourage you to check out the other references to the Great Commission found in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-27, John 20:21-22, and Acts 1:8.