When Jesus sent out His disciples to proclaim that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” to whom were they sent? In time, after Jesus’ ascension, they were sent to the ends of the earth. But, for the time being, they were sent “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-7). As we consider how we join Jesus in His mission to make disciples, it is important to consider this important point. Discipling is not always about conversion. It is not always about witnessing to an unbeliever. Sometimes, it is about coming alongside a believer who is struggling in the faith. Perhaps, a person is questioning God’s presence during a particularly tough trial. Or, a person might have a faulty expectation of who Jesus is and, therefore, what He promises to do for us. Such was the case when the disciples went out to the “lost sheep of Israel.” As they engaged the people, they found that people thought Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets (Mark 8:28). It was the job of the disciples to reframe their understanding of who the Messiah was and what He was going to do. It was their job to reveal that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Sometimes, this is the kind of discipling that we have to do. As we consider the people around us – our friends and neighbors, our co-workers, or perhaps even a family member – discipling is not always about finding the person who does not believe in God. It can be about supporting someone who, because of some struggle or undue influence, sees Jesus for something or someone He is not. For those people, we can disciple them by revealing to them what the Father has revealed to us, that Jesus is the Christ, the One who took upon Himself the sin of the world to suffer and die so that we can abide in the hope of the forgiveness and life He won for us by His death and resurrection. Through the time, support and prayers we offer to such a person we can help them reframe their faith around who Jesus is as Lord and Savior. We can help them to grow stronger in their faith and to share in the joy and peace that comes when Jesus is confessed as the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16).
Along Life's Way
Learning to live life as it’s meant to be. That’s what we strive to do here at Grace, to live under the cross in the new life that we have in Christ through His death and resurrection. The posts on this blog, grounded in God’s Word, will be offered as a source of encouragement, comfort and strength “along life’s way” to the end that we live lives of service in our homes, in our communities and in our congregations.
The author of this blog is the pastor of Grace, Andrew Green. He is a 2000 graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and has served Grace since January 2002. He is married to Erica and has two children, Clara and John-August.