Behold, I send My messenger [John the Baptist], and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
When we Make Disciples, we’re supposed to accomplish that via means. The means by which we make disciples are; “Going & As You Go,” “Baptizing,” and “Teaching them to observe/obey all things Jesus commanded.” Great! Easy enough, right? But, even if we comb the scriptures with all diligence and search for ALL that Jesus commanded, and for argument sake were able to reduce them to 50 or so, then where does the gospel come in? You know, not the do’s and don’ts of Christianity, but the Good News itself? Some here may argue that Jesus Himself is the Gospel, and in part, I’d agree. But Jesus didn’t come only speaking of Himself. Let’s look at the following:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
[Jesus] said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:43)
Now it came to pass, afterward, that [Jesus] went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings [gospel] of the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:1)
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:16-17)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
So, in addition to “all that He commanded,” the data by which disciples are to be made, there’s all that other stuff. Can we make disciples with just Jesus’ commands? We get into trouble when we insist that the Gospel in ONLY about Jesus. The Gospel that Jesus preached was more than just about himself. Jesus did not speak His own words, but the words that the Father gave Him (John 8:38-42; 12:49-50; 14:24). His message was not primarily about Himself, but rather the good news that the Father ordained to be announced on earth.
I think we might be missing something in understanding what Jesus meant when He said to “teach them to observe/obey all that He commanded.” We quite naturally look for all the commands so we can teach them, but forget all of the other stuff that He co-mmanded, enjoined, entrusted, charged, and yes “ordered” us to carry forward. The Gospel belongs to God. Because HE is the Author, Preacher, Sum, and Substance of it. A few questions:
1. Is the Message of the Gospel to be found within the commands of Jesus? Where?
2. Does the Gospel ONLY point to Christ? Or is there more involved?
3. Can disciples be made simply with a list of do’s & don’ts? Why or Why not?
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