Last words. Last words have meaning. The words that people say before goodbyes; the words that people say within final speeches; the words that people say upon their death beds. Last words have meaning because last words often communicate the giver's greatest insights to the receiver. Do you know what Jesus' last words to his disciples were? They are found in Matthew 28:18-20 and they say, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” These are some of my favorite Bible verses, not because they are the most inspiring verses or the most “feel good” verses, but because they are the last words that Jesus left with his disciples; therefore, they are the last words that Jesus left with us!
These last words of Jesus are often referred to as The Great Commission. It was his commission to his disciples between the time that he would ascend into heaven and the time that he would return to earth to renew and restore it. But what do these words actually mean? What does Jesus actually want us to do? What does Jesus actually want me to do?
To help answer these questions, I want to share with you three steps that I believe will help us live out The Great Commission.
1.The first step to living commissioned is being with Jesus. Just look at the lives of the disciples! What set them apart as Jesus' disciples is that they were with Jesus all the time. Before they ever preached or healed or did anything else, they spent three years following Jesus and simply being with him. Depending on who you are, you may have read the word “be” and felt relieved, thinking, Oh good, that's not too intimidating! Or you may have winced at the word, fearful of the call to stillness and silence. Have you ever heard of Mary and Martha, two of Jesus' most dedicated female followers? If not, here is an excerpt from their story to help:
“While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, ‘Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.' The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:38-42
While there is a time and a place for doing, Jesus commends being. Being is the beginning of discipleship. So, if you don't already, set aside time to be with Jesus daily. You will hear this over and over again because there is truth to its value! It can be whenever you want and wherever you want, as long as it allows for stillness and silence. If you don't know where to start, download The Gal's Gospel Guide: A 45-Day Reading Plan to Unpack the Gospel and Understand Its Relevance to Your Life by Jordan. While we can't witness his life and his ministry in person, we can study it and learn from it in the Gospels!
2.The second step to living commissioned is becoming like Jesus. They say that we become like the people we spend time with, therefore it only makes sense that the more we spend time with Jesus, the more we become like him! But, I understand that it can be hard to grasp what it should look like for us (young women living in modern day times) to look like Jesus (a man who lived in ancient Bible times). I once heard a pastor put it this way: What would it look like for Jesus to be expressed through your personality, your gender, your ethnicity, your socioeconomic status? In other words, what would it look like for Jesus to be expressed through who He created you to be? What He has called you to do? When and where He has called you to do it? Becoming like Jesus is becoming who He created you to be – what a beautiful thought! But, transparently, we are all broken and this is all easier said than done. So, let's start small. As you spend time with Jesus (whether you are using The Gal's Gospel Guide or something else), ask yourself this question: What characteristic of Jesus do I see in this passage? And then praise Him for it. Admit your own brokenness, and how you have lacked this characteristic in your own life.
Request his sweet redemption, and that he would develop more of this characteristic in you. And request opportunities for him to display this developing characteristic through you! Then, thank Him for the ways that He is already making you more like Him, and in that, making you more into the woman He intended you to be. The process of becoming like Jesus is lifelong, but when we finally meet Him face-to-face, it will be so rewarding!
3. The third step to living commissioned is doing what Jesus did. When most people think of living commissioned, they think of the doing first. But, it is out of the overflow of being with Jesus and becoming like Jesus that effective discipleship is done. When it comes to “doing” effective discipleship, we are all commissioned to the same thing, yet we are all given different gifts. Jesus commissioned all of his disciples to “go, baptize, and teach,” and we must not forget that. But again, look at the lives of the disciples. Some of them went far and some of them went next-door. Some of them taught through preaching and some of them taught through writing. Just as becoming like Jesus is becoming who He created you to be, doing what Jesus did is doing what Jesus created you to do. While we must never use the things that are and aren't our own gifts as an excuse not to do what Jesus would do, He has gifted us all and called us all differently.
So, here's one last small step for you to take towards living commissioned. As you spend time with Jesus and take note of his characteristics, also take note of his actions. And, since you may not be casting out demons or healing the blind on a daily basis, pay attention to the heart behind His actions: a love for the broken, and a desire to transform them from the inside out. This is the heart of discipleship! Taking someone from where they are (broken and in need of a Savior) to where Jesus wants them to be (redeemed and living by design). That being said, with every Christlike characteristic that you take note of and pray over yourself, also pray over opportunities for discipleship; opportunities to do what Jesus did with the characteristics developing inside of you. Remember the WWJD bracelets some of us wore as kids? While the bracelet isn't necessary, the concept is! We must daily ask ourselves: What Would Jesus Do?
I'll be honest, discipleship is something that I have always been better at studying than actually doing. I love the idea of it, but the act of it scares me. What if I'm not ready? What if I fail? What if they don't like me? But girls, we have been commissioned to discipleship! A commission is a command, not an option. So whoever you are, whatever you do, and whenever and wherever you do it, remember to be, become, and do. Three simple steps, with life-changing outcomes. Living commissioned is living into who God created you to be and what God created you to do, with Christlikeness at the center of it all. I'm praying these truths over myself this summer, and I'm praying them over you, too! So go live commissioned, with the knowledge that our Father is “with us always, to the end of the age!”
Written By: Tiffany Butler