I was in High School, I was one of “those kids.” I was always asking (out loud), “When will I
EVER use this?!” Often, my complaint
would go unanswered, but as I sat in Algebra II learning the Pythagorean theorem (A2 + B2
= C2), my laziness hit its peak.
I thought, “Really? When do I ever need to know the measure of
the hypotenuse of a triangle in real life?”
a decade later I got my answer. I was a
high school band director and I was having to mark off a practice field for the
band in the middle of an otherwise empty grassy field. I
measured the length and the width of the practice field. Although it wasn’t a full 100 yards, it was
enough for our purposes but in order to get everything measured off correctly (and
squared), guess what I had to know. You
guessed it: I had to figure out the hypotenuse of the two triangles making up my
square practice field.
+ B2 = C2…thank you Pythagoras. And thank you, Mr. Clayton (my Algebra II
teacher). Not only did I get my
perfectly square practice field, I got an example that helped every math
teacher in the school: “even the band
director needs Algebra II to do his job.” I’m still not sure what I think of that
comment, but I would imagine it’s still being used.
mentor of mine successfully drilled into my head, “tell people why and they will find any how.” Digest that for a minute. Why did I struggle through learning some of
the higher mathematics? I had the
ability to do it, but I struggled because I got hung up on the most fundamental
question of humanity: “why?”
you tell people “why,” you’re speaking to the motivation behind something. You’re not telling them to “do this because you ought to.” Instead, you’re telling them, “here’s why this is important.” People who catch a vision are a force to be reckoned
with. Think about it: why are Apple fans
so fanatic about all things Apple? Why
will they wait hours (and hours) in line for the latest Apple gadget? Because they catch the vision—they catch the
“why” of what Apple does. It has less to
do with the product (the “how”) as much as it does why they make that product and why
they make the product the way they do.
isn’t a blog about the brilliance of Apple; it’s about the brilliance of
God. This whole “tell them why” stuff is not a recent invention. It’s been written into the revelation of God
to humanity. When Adam and Eve were in
the Garden, they were told they could eat from any tree they wanted except for one (cf.
Genesis chapter 2ff). Why? God desired to give them free will—a
choice. How does this speak to
“why”? God wanted part of His creation
to bear His image. As such, He wanted
humanity to have the choice He has. The
only way He could do this was giving us a choice to obey or disobey (a choice
He still gives us.). This speaks to His
“why” in creating humanity. The story
assumes we are paying attention and know this but even from the beginning, God
is concerned with “why.”
forward to the New Testament, we hear the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:18-20 when Jesus says, “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 of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very
end of the age.”
you’re tracking along with me you’ll be saying in your head, “this doesn’t speak to why we fulfill the Great Commission, it only
speaks to who, what, when, and where.”
On the surface you’re correct, but again, if we’re paying attention and
keep the Great Commission in the context of the message of Scripture, we
quickly realize the Great Commission flows out of God’s “why” of bringing
humanity into a relationship with Him.
Spreading the Gospel is how this happens!
John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Guess what this is. It’s God’s “why” to the Great Commission.
do we “go and make disciples”? Because
the Father loved the world through the cross of His Son. We love because He loved first. We demonstrate love to the world because God
demonstrated His love for us because “while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
point of the Christian life is not retreat.
It’s going into the world—our worlds—and making disciples. Although I’ve taught several messages on “The
Great Commission,” I will point out here that Jesus didn’t tell the Apostles in
Matthew 28:18-20 to “make converts.” He
wasn’t merely concerned with “fire insurance.”
Jesus commanded them and us to “make
disciples” means I am the evangelist and YOU are the evangelist. The command of Jesus to “make disciples”
means “to cause one to be a pupil.”
It isn’t a single incident but is a journey into the image of
Christ. We are being irresponsible if we
evangelize people and give no thought to their growth in Christ. Moreover, this isn’t leading them to be
the point of every Christian’s life? To produce
other disciples of Christ. What’s the
point, then, of every church? To produce
other disciples of Christ. How different
would your church be if YOU took the challenge of making Christians just like
you? This is the essence of Matthew 28:18-20. This is the point of our Christian life. What’s your point?