Jesus commissioned the disciples for a purpose. He said, “As you go, make disciples…” (Matt. 28:19-20). We know this as the Great Commission.
There is an end point in our development. We don’t develop people just to develop them – there is a purpose, a vision, something bigger than them. We marry; have children; and raise them to be functioning adults who will also marry, have children, and so on.
We were born to reproduce.
In the same way Jesus commissions us to nurture spiritual children who will also grow and reproduce and nurture other spiritual children.
Take a moment to ponder Jesus’ commission to you. What spiritual legacy will you leave?
What would you be thinking about if you had less than twenty-four hours left to live? I’ve not been in that situation, so I can only imagine. I believe most of us would only be thinking about what was most important and our most important relationships. We have a glimpse into Jesus’s priorities and important relationships less than twenty-four hours before He died. Also by looking into His last recorded lengthy conversations with the Father, in John 17, we understand Jesus’s macro strategy.
This is simply put, below:
Jesus came to glorify the Father, and He asked that the Father glorify Him (John 17:1-5).
Jesus came to develop leaders (v. 6-19), and He kept all but Judas (v. 12). He mentions the twelve thirty-one times (them, they, those, themselves). They twelve were the most important people to Jesus. It was through the twelve minus Judas that He would reach and lead the masses.
Jesus’s third priority was the masses – those who would believe in Him through their word (v. 20-26).
Pause and reflect on your priorities and important relationships. What do they reveal about you? How do the things you value and prioritize compare to what Jesus focused on? Take a moment to ponder this.
The twelve were with Jesus. They saw how He did ministry and how He treated people. His tenderness, gentleness, and compassion for the poor and oppressed were evident. They saw His heart for the lost sheep and the masses without shepherds. He rebuked hypocrites and false leaders. They were with Him when He healed, raised the dead, and cast out demons. They learned sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and servanthood. They went through faith tests of being in a storm on the sea about to down and then saw Jesus still the storm.
Jesus didn’t focus on how-tos (programs, methods, or skills) but rather on heart, character, values, motives, faith, and leading in light of eternity among other things. We would do well to emphasize the same in our equipping. Then He commissioned them. There was an end to His training.
Jesus blessed the twelve at the Last Supper. He did it in a way that shocked them – He washed their feet. He was the Lord of the universe, creator of all, King of Kings. He knew who He was and where He was going – to be seated at the right hand of the Father. With all of this knowledge, He laid aside His robes and girded a towel about Himself, took the role of the lowliest servant in the household, and washed their feet. One by one, tenderly and in a way that blessed and humbled each one.
When He finished, He told them what He did: “Do you know what I have done to you?” (John 13:12). He said in effect, “I am the Lord and teacher, but I washed your feet. I took the low road and lifted you up. I blessed you and so you should do the same.”