Grow Deep: Unlikely Outcomes Edition, Week 4
Week 4: April 22-28
“… 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.” - Matthew 28:19
Brushing up a resume is uncomfortable business. I was reminded of this recently when a freelance gig landed in my inbox. I worked 15 years at the same job before staying home with our son, so my resume was woefully out of date. Axing entire sections, I mulled over how to distill my expertise to one page so that strangers could determine whether I was worth a call. No pressure.
Imagine, just for a moment, that we viewed the Great Commission as if it were a recruitment for any other job. To me, the ideal resume for Disciple Maker would depict someone godly, charismatic, and humble … someone who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. That “someone” looks a lot like Jesus.
That is one reason I have always squirmed a little about the Great Commission. Jesus commands His disciples--present believers included--to make disciples of all nations. That’s a tall order if, like me, you don’t feel like you have an ideal resume for such a grand project. I’m not bold. I hate rejection. I am reserved. I fumble for the “right words” to share the Gospel. Surely there are more qualified candidates out there.
If you look at His first disciples, though, Jesus didn’t recruit people with “ideal” resumes. They weren’t orators. They weren’t theologians. They weren’t even movers and shakers. Jesus recruited regular, flawed individuals, even ones who would deny Him in His final hours.
We’re misguided if we view the Great Commission through our own qualifications because it isn’t about who we are. Rather, it’s about Jesus and the redemptive power of His resurrection. Another error is believing it’s our mission to carry out alone. In reality, Jesus is not only on this mission with us, He is at the helm. Just as Jesus assured His disciples that He would be with them always, the same holds true today. Through trials in life, through Christian fellowship, and through His Word, God provides the on-the-job training we need to be both disciple and disciple maker as we proclaim and teach His good news.
Sunday, April 22
Read: Matthew 28:16-20
In these verses, which some consider to be the climax of the Gospel, Jesus is speaking to His eleven disciples who have met Him on a mountain in Galilee. They worship Him, but some doubt. Still, it is there that Jesus claims all authority in heaven and on earth. He unfolds His mission for us and commissions us to go and make disciples of all nations! We don’t deserve it and are unlikely heralds of it. Yet, the power of the resurrection “co-missions” us to be God’s unlikely instrument.
Reflect: Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations includes not only people in far off places, but also people close to home, even in our own families. To whom can you be a disciple of Jesus in your current stage of life? How is Jesus’ assurance that He is with you always helpful as you carry out the Great Commission?
For the Family: What is a disciple? Jesus tells His close friends and us to go and make disciples. That is called the “Great Commission.” What does the word “commission” mean? Where does the power to make disciples come from? What promise does Jesus give us?
Monday, April 23
Read: 1 Peter 1:1-12
Peter sends words of encouragement to Jews and Gentiles whose faith is being tested and refined as gold is refined in the fire. He reminds them of their special status in Christ and that they have been born into a living hope and an eternal inheritance.
Reflect: When has your faith been tested and refined? How does God use these experiences to equip you as a disciple of Christ?
For the Family: Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Sometimes when we do the right thing, other people make fun of us or try to hurt us. How should we respond if that happens to us?
Tuesday, April 24
Read: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Peter outlines some specific character traits of Christians. He reminds his readers that they should be “holy” as God is holy. He further reminds them that they were redeemed by Christ’s own blood and have been born again of an imperishable seed. He implores them to earnestly love one another from a pure heart.
Reflect: Just as Jesus loved us, so we are “co-missioned” to love our Christian brothers and sisters deeply. How can we show love for our fellow disciples? If loving some believers is difficult, how can you move from a reluctant love to a deep love?
For the Family: Peter tells his friends to behave a certain way toward each other. What does he tell them? How did Jesus show His love for us? Talk with your family about some ways that you can show love for one another.
Wednesday, April 25
Read: 1 Peter 2
In the opening verses of this chapter, Peter describes Christians as those who are being built into a spiritual house (temple) with the Lord as the cornerstone. He says we are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” These words outline our Christian identity and God’s “unlikely co-mission” to follow Christ’s priestly example and live a life that will glorify God.
Reflect: What blessings and responsibilities do we have as members of the royal priesthood? How are you being “built into a spiritual house” as Christ’s disciple?
For the Family: Have you ever been chosen for a special job or to be a member of a club or team? If you were, how was it like a special
“co-missioning”? You have been chosen by God to be His and to do things that will bring Him honor. How does it make you feel to be “co-missioned” by Jesus?
Thursday, April 26
Read: 1 Peter 3
In this chapter, Peter continues to admonish Christians to live godly lives … husbands and wives are to live in harmony and do nothing that will hinder their relationship with God. Peter encourages readers to set aside Christ as Lord and to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope they have in Christ, even in the face of suffering and trials. The early Christians addressed by Peter were mocked, ridiculed, and
pressured to conform to the ways of their culture in much the same way that Christians today are often ridiculed, mocked, and pressured to conform to our culture.
Reflect: How do we see disciples today suffer for doing good? Of all the guidance regarding Christian conduct in this chapter, which do you find most significant in your own life now? How is this part of your “co-mission” as a disciple?
For the Family: What does it mean to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have in Christ? What is the hope we have in Jesus? Think of some questions that someone who doesn’t know Jesus might want to ask you? How would you answer him or her?
Friday, April 27
Read: 1 Peter 4
Peter reminds us to be clear-minded and alert to evil as the end is near. He encourages us with an “unlikely co-mission” to rejoice in the name of Christ that we bear, even as we face trials. God’s Spirit is on us! Therefore, we are to serve one another out of love and to offer hospitality.
Reflect: Having a Christ-like attitude means not only resisting evil but also acting with selflessness. What might prevent us from recognizing evil? How can we avoid “grumbling” when we show hospitality?
For the Family: What does it mean to show Christian hospitality? How did Jesus show hospitality to those who hurt Him? Talk with your family about ways that you can respond to God’s “co-mission” to show hospitality … even to someone who has hurt you.
Saturday, April 28
Read: 1 Peter 5
In this reading, Peter admonishes us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and to cast our cares on Him because He loves us. He reminds us to be self-controlled, filled with humility toward one another and to resist the schemes of the devil who seeks only to devour us! In his closing comments, he assures us that God will restore and strengthen us.
Reflect: What are specific ways we can be “self-controlled and alert” in our lives in order to resist the devil? Why is having a spirit of humility necessary as a disciple of Christ?
For the Family: What does it mean to be humble? What does God do for those who are humble? Jesus resisted the devil when He was in the desert for 40 days and nights. How does His example help us to resist the devil?