‘Go and Make Disciples’
“All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples.”—MATTHEW 28:18, 19.
1, 2. (a) What assignment did Jesus give his followers? (b) What questions regarding Jesus’ commands will be considered?
IT WAS a spring day in Israel in 33 C.E., and Jesus’ disciples were gathered on a mountain in Galilee. Their resurrected Lord was about to ascend into heaven, but first he had something important to tell them. Jesus had an assignment for them. What was the task? How did his disciples respond to it? And how does that assignment apply to us today?
2 What Jesus said is recorded at Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” Jesus spoke of “all authority,” “all the nations,” “all the things,” and “all the days.” His commands involving those four all-embracing expressions raise some important questions, which can be summed up in the words why? where? what? and when? Let us consider the questions one at a time.*
“All Authority Has Been Given Me”
3. Why should we obey the command to make disciples?
3 First, why should we obey the command to make disciples? Jesus stated: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples.” The word “therefore” points to a major reason why we should obey this command. It is because Jesus, the one who issued the command, has “all authority.” How extensive is his authority?
4. (a) How extensive is Jesus’ authority? (b) How should our understanding of Jesus’ authority influence our view of the command to make disciples?
4 Jesus has authority over his congregation, and since 1914 he has had authority over God’s newly established Kingdom. (Colossians 1:13; Revelation 11:15) He is the archangel and as such commands a heavenly army of hundreds of millions of angels. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 19:14-16) He has been empowered by his Father to bring to nothing “all government and all authority and power” that oppose righteous principles. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Ephesians 1:20-23) Jesus’ authority is not limited to the living. He is also “judge of the living and the dead” and has God-given power to resurrect those who have fallen asleep in death. (Acts 10:42; John 5:26-28) Surely a command given by the One vested with such vast authority should be viewed as of the highest importance. Therefore, we respectfully and willingly obey Christ’s command to ‘go and make disciples.’
5. (a) How did Peter obey Jesus’ words? (b) Peter’s obedience to Jesus’ instructions led to what blessing?
5 Early in his earthly ministry, Jesus taught his disciples in a striking way that recognizing his authority and obeying his commands would lead to blessings. He once told Peter, who was a fisherman: “Pull out to where it is deep, and you men let down your nets for a catch.” Peter was sure that there were no fish, so he told Jesus: “Instructor, for a whole night we toiled and took nothing.” However, Peter humbly added: “But at your bidding I will lower the nets.” After Peter obeyed Christ’s command, he caught “a great multitude of fish.” Overwhelmed, Peter “fell down at the knees of Jesus, saying: ‘Depart from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord.’” But Jesus answered: “Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching men alive.” (Luke 5:1-10; Matthew 4:18) What do we learn from that account?
6. (a) What does the account about the miraculous catch of fish illustrate regarding the type of obedience that Jesus requires? (b) How can we imitate Jesus?
6 Jesus gave Peter, Andrew, and other apostles the assignment to “become fishers of men,” not before, but after they made this astonishing catch of fish. (Mark 1:16, 17) Clearly, Jesus did not require blind obedience. He gave the men a convincing reason why they should obey him. Just as obeying Jesus’ command to let their nets down led to overwhelming results, so obeying Jesus’ command to ‘catch men’ would lead to great blessings. In full faith, the apostles responded. The account concludes: “They brought the boats back to land, and abandoned everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11) Today, as we encourage others to share in the work of making disciples, we imitate Jesus. We do not require that people simply do as we tell them, but we give them convincing reasons to obey Christ’s command.
Convincing Reasons and Proper Motives
7, 8. (a) What are some Scriptural reasons for Kingdom preaching and disciple making? (b) What scripture especially motivates you to continue with the preaching work? (See also footnote.)
7 Because we recognize Christ’s authority, we have a part in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. What other Scriptural reasons for doing that work can we share with those whom we wish to move to fine works? Consider the following observations made by several faithful Witnesses from different lands, and note how the cited scriptures support their comments.
8 Roy, baptized in 1951: “When I dedicated myself to Jehovah, I promised to serve him always. I want to keep my word.” (Psalm 50:14; Matthew 5:37) Heather, baptized in 1962: “When I think of all that Jehovah has done for me, I want to show him my gratitude by faithfully serving him.” (Psalm 9:1, 9-11; Colossians 3:15) Hannelore, baptized in 1954: “Each time we are in the ministry, we are supported by angels—what a privilege!” (Acts 10:30-33; Revelation 14:6, 7) Honor, baptized in 1969: “When Jehovah’s time of judgment comes, I do not want anyone in my neighborhood to be able to charge Jehovah and his Witnesses with negligence and say, ‘I never received a warning!’” (Ezekiel 2:5; 3:17-19; Romans 10:16, 18) Claudio, baptized in 1974: “When we are preaching, we are ‘under God’s view’ and ‘in company with Christ.’ Imagine! While we are in the ministry, we enjoy the company of our best Friends.”—2 Corinthians 2:17.*
9. (a) What does the account of the fishing experience of Peter and other apostles reveal about the proper motive for obeying Christ? (b) What is the proper motive for obeying God and Christ today, and why?
9 The account about the remarkable catch of fish also shows the importance of having the proper motive for obeying Christ—love. When Peter said, “Depart from me, because I am a sinful man,” Jesus did not depart, nor did he condemn Peter for any sin. (Luke 5:8) Jesus did not even criticize Peter for begging him to go away. Rather, Jesus kindly answered: “Stop being afraid.” Morbid fear would have been a wrong motive for obeying Christ. Instead, Jesus told Peter that he and his companions would become useful as fishers of men. Today, we likewise do not use fear or similar negative emotions, such as guilt and shame, to coerce others into obeying Christ. Only whole-souled obedience based on love for God and Christ makes Jehovah’s heart rejoice.—Matthew 22:37.
“Make Disciples of People of All the Nations”
10. (a) What detail about Jesus’ command to make disciples posed a great challenge for his disciples? (b) How did the disciples respond to Jesus’ command?
10 The second question raised in connection with Christ’s command is, Where should this disciple-making work be carried out? Jesus told his followers: “Make disciples of people of all the nations.” Prior to the time of Jesus’ ministry, people of the nations were welcomed if they came to Israel to serve Jehovah. (1 Kings 8:41-43) Jesus himself preached mostly to natural Jews, but now he told his followers to go to people of all nations. In effect, the fishing grounds, or preaching territory, of his disciples had been limited to a small “pond”—the natural Jews—but it was soon to include the entire “sea” of mankind. Although this change posed a challenge to the disciples, they readily obeyed Jesus’ instruction. Less than 30 years after Jesus’ death, the apostle Paul could write that the good news had been preached not only to the Jews but to “all creation that is under heaven.”—Colossians 1:23.
11. What expansion of ‘the fishing grounds’ has taken place since the early 20th century?
11 In more recent times, a comparable expansion of preaching territory has been seen. At the beginning of the 20th century, the ‘fishing grounds’ were confined to a few lands. Yet, Christ’s followers back then imitated the example of the first-century Christians and eagerly expanded the territory in which they preached. (Romans 15:20) By the early 1930’s, they were making disciples in some one hundred lands. Today, our ‘fishing grounds’ have been expanded to 235 lands.—Mark 13:10.
“Out of All the Languages”
12. What challenge does the prophecy found at Zechariah 8:23 highlight?
12 Making disciples in all nations is a challenge not only geographically but also linguistically. Through the prophet Zechariah, Jehovah foretold: “It will be in those days that ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: ‘We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.’” (Zechariah 8:23) In the larger fulfillment of this prophecy, the “man who is a Jew” represents the remnant of anointed Christians, while the “ten men” represent the “great crowd.”* (Revelation 7:9, 10; Galatians 6:16) This great crowd of Christ’s disciples would be found in many nations, and as Zechariah noted, they would be speaking numerous languages. Does the modern-day history of God’s people illustrate that aspect of discipleship? Yes, it does.
13. (a) What development regarding languages has taken place among God’s modern-day people? (b) How has the faithful slave class responded to the growing need for spiritual food in different languages? (Include the box “Publications for the Blind.”)
13 In 1950 the mother tongue of about 3 out of every 5 Witnesses of Jehovah worldwide was English. By 1980 that ratio had changed to about 2 out of 5, and today the native language of only 1 out of every 5 Witnesses is English. How has the faithful and discreet slave class responded to this linguistic shift? By providing spiritual food in ever more languages. (Matthew 24:45) For instance, in 1950 our literature was published in 90 languages, but today that number has risen to some 400. Has this increased attention to people of various language groups had results? Yes! An average of some 5,000 people ‘out of all tongues’ become disciples of Christ each week of the year! (Revelation 7:9) And the increase is continuing. In some lands the “nets” are bringing in a very good catch!—Luke 5:6; John 21:6.
A Rewarding Ministry—Can You Share in It?
14. How may we help those in our territory who speak a foreign language? (Include the box “Sign Language and Disciple Making.”)
14 In many Western lands, the arrival of immigrants has brought the challenge of making disciples of people of ‘every tongue’ close to home. (Revelation 14:6) How can we help those in our territory who speak a language other than ours? (1 Timothy 2:4) We can use the correct fishing gear, so to speak. Offer such individuals literature in the language they speak. If possible, arrange for a Witness who speaks their language to visit them. (Acts 22:2) Making these arrangements is now easier, since many Witnesses have learned to speak a language other than their own in order to help foreigners to become Christ’s disciples. Reports show that helping in this way is a rewarding experience.
15, 16. (a) What examples illustrate that it is rewarding to help those who speak a foreign language? (b) What questions regarding service in a foreign-language field might we consider?
15 Consider two examples from the Netherlands, where organized Kingdom-preaching is carried out in 34 languages. A Witness couple volunteered to go and make disciples among Polish-speaking immigrants. The response to their efforts was so overwhelming that the husband felt compelled to reduce his secular employment so as to have one more day a week available to study the Bible with those showing interest. Before long, the couple were conducting over 20 Bible studies each week. They remarked: “Our ministry makes us very happy.” Disciple-makers feel especially happy when those who hear Bible truths in their own language are moved to express appreciation. For instance, during a meeting held in Vietnamese, an elderly man stood up and asked for permission to speak. With tears in his eyes, he told the Witnesses: “Thank you for the efforts you are making to learn my difficult language. I am so grateful to learn many wonderful things from the Bible in my old age.”
16 It is no wonder, therefore, that those who serve in foreign-language congregations feel greatly rewarded. A couple from Britain said: “The ministry in the foreign-language field is one of the most exciting we have experienced during our 40 years of Kingdom service.” Could you adjust your circumstances so as to have a share in this stimulating ministry? If you are still attending school, could you study a foreign language in preparation for this type of ministry? Doing so may open the door to a gratifying way of life filled with blessings. (Proverbs 10:22) Why not discuss this with your parents?
Varying Our Methods
17. How might we reach more people in our congregation territory?
17 Understandably, circumstances do not permit most of us to cast our “nets” in foreign-language territories. However, we might be able to reach more people than we do at present in our own congregation territory. How? By varying, not our message, but our methods. In many areas a growing number of people live in high-security buildings. Many others are not at home when we call during our house-to-house ministry. So we may need to cast our “nets” at different times and in different locations. Thus we imitate Jesus. He found ways to talk to people in various settings.—Matthew 9:9; Luke 19:1-10; John 4:6-15.
18. How has witnessing in various settings proved to be effective? (Include the box “Making Disciples of Business People.”)
18 In some parts of the world, witnessing wherever people can be found is an important method of disciple making. Experienced disciple-makers have been giving increased attention to witnessing in a variety of places. In addition to sharing in the house-to-house ministry, publishers now witness at airports, in offices, in stores, in parking lots, at bus stops, on streets, in parks, on beaches, and elsewhere. A goodly number of newly baptized Witnesses in Hawaii were first contacted at such locations. Varying our methods helps us to carry out to the full Jesus’ command to make disciples.—1 Corinthians 9:22, 23.
19. What aspects of Jesus’ commission to us will be discussed in the following article?
19 Jesus’ assignment to make disciples included details not only about why and where we should do that work but also about what we should preach and until when we should continue to do so. These two aspects of Jesus’ commission to us will be considered in the following article.
We will consider the first two questions in this article. The last two questions will be discussed in the following article.
For more information on this prophecy’s fulfillments, see The Watchtower, May 15, 2001, page 12, and Isaiah’s Prophecy—Light for All Mankind, Volume 2, page 408, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
‘Teach Them to Observe All the Things I Have Commanded You’
“Go therefore and make disciples . . . , teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—MATTHEW 28:19, 20.
1. What conversation took place between the disciple Philip and a man from Ethiopia?
THE man from Ethiopia had journeyed all the way to Jerusalem. There he worshiped the God he loved, Jehovah. Evidently, he also loved God’s inspired Word. While returning home in his chariot, he was reading a copy of the writings of the prophet Isaiah when Philip, a disciple of Christ, met him. Philip asked the Ethiopian: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” The man replied: “How could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” Philip went on to help this sincere student of Scripture to become a disciple of Christ.—Acts 8:26-39.
2. (a) In what way was the reply given by the Ethiopian meaningful? (b) What questions related to Christ’s commission to make disciples will we consider?
2 The reply of the Ethiopian is noteworthy. He said: ‘How could I, unless someone guided me.’ Yes, he needed a guide, someone to lead the way for him. In its own way, this comment illustrates the importance of a specific instruction that Jesus included in his commission to make disciples. What instruction? To find the answer, let us continue our consideration of Jesus’ words found in Matthew chapter 28. The preceding article focused on the questions why? and where? We will now consider two more questions related to Christ’s command to make disciples—what? and when?
“Teaching Them to Observe All the Things”
3. (a) How does someone become a disciple of Jesus Christ? (b) Making disciples includes teaching what?
3 What must we teach to help others to become disciples of Christ? Jesus commanded his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Thus, we must teach the things that Christ commanded.* What, though, will help to ensure that an individual who is taught Jesus’ commandments will not only become a disciple but also remain one? One key factor is seen in Jesus’ careful choice of words. Note, he did not merely say: ‘Teach them all the things I have commanded you.’ Rather, he said: ‘Teach them to observe all the things I have commanded you.’ (Matthew 19:17) What does that imply?
4. (a) What does it mean to observe a command? (b) Illustrate how we teach someone to observe Christ’s commands.
4 To observe a command means to “conform one’s action” to a command—to obey, or keep, it. How, then, do we teach someone to observe, or obey, the things that Christ commanded? Well, think of the way a driving instructor teaches his students to observe the traffic laws. The instructor may teach his students the rules of the road while in a classroom. However, to teach his students how to obey those rules, he has to guide the students as they actually drive in traffic and struggle to put into practice what they have learned. Likewise, when we study the Bible with people, we teach them Christ’s commandments. However, we also need to guide the students as they endeavor to apply Christ’s instructions in their daily lives and in the ministry. (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3) Thus, fully carrying out Christ’s command to make disciples requires that we be both teachers and guides. In that way, we imitate the example set by Jesus and by Jehovah himself.—Psalm 48:14; Revelation 7:17.
5. Why may a person with whom we study the Bible hesitate to obey Christ’s command to make disciples?
5 Teaching others to observe Jesus’ commands includes helping them to heed the command to make disciples. For some with whom we study the Bible, that may be intimidating. Even if they previously were active members of some church of Christendom, it is unlikely that their former religious teachers ever taught them to go and make disciples. Some church leaders frankly admit that when it comes to teaching their flock to evangelize, Christendom’s churches fail utterly. Commenting on Jesus’ command to go into the world and help all sorts of people to become disciples, Bible scholar John R. W. Stott noted: “Our failure to obey the implications of this command is the greatest weakness of evangelical Christians in the field of evangelism today.” He added: “We tend to proclaim our message from a distance. We sometimes appear like people who shout advice to drowning men from the safety of the seashore. We do not dive in to rescue them. We are afraid of getting wet.”
6. (a) When helping a Bible student, how can we imitate the example of Philip? (b) How can we show our concern when a Bible student begins to share in the preaching work?
6 If someone with whom we study the Bible was formerly part of a religion whose members are “afraid of getting wet,” it may be a challenge for him to overcome his fear of water, as it were, and obey Christ’s command to make disciples. He will need help. Thus, we need to be patient as we give him the sort of instruction and guidance that deepens his understanding and moves him to action, just as the teachings of Philip enlightened the Ethiopian and motivated him to get baptized. (John 16:13; Acts 8:35-38) In addition, our desire to teach Bible students to observe the command to make disciples moves us to be at their side to guide them when they take their first steps in Kingdom preaching.—Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10; Luke 6:40.
“All the Things”
7. Teaching others to ‘observe all things’ includes teaching them what commands?
7 We do not limit ourselves merely to teaching new disciples to make disciples. Jesus instructed us to teach others to “observe all the things” he commanded. That certainly includes the two greatest commands—to love God and to love neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-39) How might a new disciple be taught to observe those commandments?
8. Illustrate how a new disciple may be taught the command to show love.
8 Think again of the illustration of the student driver. As the student moves through traffic with the instructor at his side, the student is learning not only by listening to his instructor but also by observing other drivers. For instance, the instructor may point out a driver who kindly allows another to merge in front of him into traffic; or a driver who courteously dims his car’s headlights so as not to blind oncoming traffic; or a driver who offers willing assistance to an acquaintance whose vehicle has broken down. Such examples teach the student valuable lessons that he can apply when he is driving. Similarly, a new disciple who travels on the road to life learns not only from his teacher but also from the fine examples that he sees in the congregation.—Matthew 7:13, 14.
9. How does a new disciple learn what it means to observe the command to show love?
9 For instance, a Bible student may observe a single parent who puts forth great effort to come to the Kingdom Hall with her small children in tow. He may see a downhearted soul who faithfully comes to meetings despite her struggle with depression, an elderly widow who drives other older ones to each congregation meeting, or a teenager who shares in cleaning the Kingdom Hall. The Bible student may take note of a congregation elder who faithfully takes the lead in field service despite his many congregation responsibilities. He may meet a Witness who is disabled and housebound but who is a source of spiritual encouragement to all who visit him. The student may observe a couple who are making drastic adjustments in their life in order to serve as caregivers to their elderly parents. By observing such kind, helpful, and dependable Christians, the new disciple learns by example what it means to obey Christ’s command to love God and neighbor, especially fellow believers. (Proverbs 24:32; John 13:35; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8; 1 Peter 5:2, 3) In this way, each member of the Christian congregation can—and should—be a teacher and a guide.—Matthew 5:16.
“Until the Conclusion of the System of Things”
10. (a) For how long will we continue to make disciples? (b) What example did Jesus set regarding carrying out assignments?
10 Until when should we continue with disciple making? Throughout the conclusion of the system of things. (Matthew 28:20) Will we be able to fulfill this aspect of Jesus’ commission? As a worldwide congregation, we are determined to do so. In years past, we have gladly given of our time, energy, and resources to find those who are “rightly disposed for everlasting life.” (Acts 13:48) Presently, Jehovah’s Witnesses spend an average of more than three million hours each day of the year in Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making activity worldwide. We do so because we follow Jesus’ example. He stated: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) That is also our heartfelt desire. (John 20:21) We want to do more than start the work that has been entrusted to us; we want to finish it.—Matthew 24:13; John 17:4.
11. What has happened to some of our Christian brothers and sisters, and what should we ask ourselves?
11 It saddens us, however, to notice that some of our fellow believers have grown spiritually weak and, as a result, have slowed down or stopped carrying out Christ’s command to make disciples. Is there any way we can help them to renew their association with the congregation and resume their share in making disciples? (Romans 15:1; Hebrews 12:12) The manner in which Jesus helped his apostles when they were temporarily in a weak condition indicates what we may do today.
12. (a) Just before Jesus’ death, what did his apostles do? (b) How did Jesus deal with his apostles despite their having shown serious weaknesses?
12 At the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, when his death was imminent, the apostles “abandoned him and fled.” As Jesus had foretold, they “scattered each one to his own house.” (Mark 14:50; John 16:32) How did Jesus deal with his spiritually weakened companions? Shortly after his resurrection, Jesus told some of his followers: “Have no fear! Go, report to my brothers, that they may go off into Galilee; and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10) Although the apostles had shown serious weaknesses, Jesus still called them “my brothers.” (Matthew 12:49) He had not given up on them. In this way, Jesus was merciful and forgiving, just as Jehovah is merciful and forgiving. (2 Kings 13:23) How can we imitate Jesus?
13. How should we view those who have grown spiritually weak?
13 We should have deep concern for those who have slowed down or stopped sharing in the ministry. We still remember the works of love that those fellow believers performed in the past—some perhaps for decades. (Hebrews 6:10) We truly miss their companionship. (Luke 15:4-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:17) How, though, may we express our concern for them?
14. In imitation of Jesus, how can we help a weak person?
14 Jesus told the downhearted apostles that they should go to Galilee and that they would see him there. In effect, Jesus invited them to attend a special meeting. (Matthew 28:10) Similarly today, we encourage those who are spiritually weak to attend the meetings of the Christian congregation, and we may need to encourage them more than once to do so. In the case of the apostles, the invitation bore fruit, for “the eleven disciples went into Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had arranged for them.” (Matthew 28:16) What joy we feel when weaker ones similarly respond to our warm invitations and resume attending Christian meetings!—Luke 15:6.
15. How can we follow Jesus’ example in welcoming weak ones who come to our place of meeting?
15 How will we react when a weaker Christian arrives at the Kingdom Hall? Well, what did Jesus do when he saw his apostles, whose faith had temporarily weakened, at the appointed place of meeting? “Jesus approached and spoke to them.” (Matthew 28:18) He did not stare at them from a distance but went up to them. Imagine how relieved the apostles must have felt when Jesus took that initiative! May we too take the initiative and warmly welcome spiritually weak ones who make the effort to return to the Christian congregation.
16. (a) What can we learn from the manner in which Jesus dealt with his followers? (b) How can we reflect Jesus’ view of weaker ones? (See footnote.)
16 What else did Jesus do? First, he made an announcement: “All authority has been given me.” Second, he gave an assignment: “Go therefore and make disciples.” Third, he made a promise: “I am with you all the days.” But did you note what Jesus did not do? He did not rebuke the disciples for their failures and doubts. (Matthew 28:17) Was his approach effective? Yes. Before long, the apostles were once again “teaching and declaring the good news.” (Acts 5:42) By following Jesus’ example of how to view and how to treat weaker ones, we may see similar heartwarming results in our local congregation.*—Acts 20:35.
“I Am With You All the Days”
17, 18. What strengthening thoughts are contained in Jesus’ words, “I am with you all the days”?
17 The final words of Jesus’ commission, “I am with you all the days,” contain a strengthening thought for all who strive to fulfill Christ’s command to make disciples. Whatever opposition enemies may bring against our Kingdom-preaching work and whatever forms of slander they may unleash against us, we have no reason to fear. Why not? Jesus, our Leader, who has ‘all authority in heaven and on earth,’ is with us to support us!
18 Jesus’ promise “I am with you all the days” is also a source of great comfort. As we strive to carry out Christ’s command to make disciples, we experience not only days of joy but also days of sadness. (2 Chronicles 6:29) Some of us pass through sorrowful times while mourning the death of a dearly loved one. (Genesis 23:2; John 11:33-36) Others are coping with old age, when health and strength are declining. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-6) Still others face days when they are overwhelmed by feelings of depression. (1 Thessalonians 5:14) And a growing number of us struggle through severe economic hardships. Nevertheless, despite such challenges, we succeed in our ministry because Jesus is with us “all the days,” including the darkest days of our life.—Matthew 11:28-30.
19. (a) Jesus’ commission to make disciples contains what instructions? (b) What enables us to fulfill Christ’s commission?
19 As we have seen in this and the preceding article, Jesus’ commission to make disciples is all-embracing. Jesus told us why and where we should carry out his command. He also told us what we should teach and until when we should do so. Granted, fulfilling this great commission is a challenge. But with Christ’s authority behind us and his presence beside us, we can accomplish it! Do you not agree?
A reference work points out that Jesus said, “baptizing them . . . teaching them,” not ‘baptizing them and teaching them.’ Hence, the command to baptize and to teach are “not strictly . . . two successive acts.” Rather, “teaching is a continuous process, which partly precedes baptism . . . and partly follows baptism.”
Further information on how to view and help weaker ones is found in The Watchtower of February 1, 2003, pages 15-18.