Do you ever wonder if the first disciples knew just how difficult it would be for them to carry out Jesus’ charge to “make disciples”? I mean, even if you leave out the vastness of “all the world” and the comprehensive nature of the command to teach them “all things”, making disciples was (and is) bound to be full of difficulties. But this small band of 1st Century rebels, in the face of outright opposition from their native religious establishment and the dominating might of the Roman Empire, did just that. And still today, disciples of Jesus are being made in spite of (and sometimes even spurred on by) some of the most hostile oppression followers of Jesus have ever seen.
Films like Love Costs Everything and this Newsweek article describe some of the violence being committed against those who claim allegiance to Jesus throughout the world. In many places, being a disciple of Jesus is a very dangerous way of life. But the ongoing efforts of those first disciples, carried on in the lives of new generations of Christ’s disciples, continue to move forward still today. What keeps that going is in a lot of ways the same as what kept Joshua moving forward as he began to lead the people of Israel.
In Deuteronomy 31 -34, we get to peek in to Moses’ hand off of leadership to Joshua. In the process, we see Joshua learning to live in these 3 truths:
- He was dependent on God. (31:7,8)
- He was commissioned by God. (31:23)
- He was full of the spirit of wisdom. (34:9)
When those 3 truths are evident in our own lives, we are enabled to lead people as we follow Jesus together. We are able to make disciples, even in difficulty. Our ability to lead well requires us to depend on God, respond to His call, and be filled with His Spirit.
Maybe you weren’t ready when you found out the baton was now in your hand, that it was now your turn to “go, make disciples”. If that’s the case, begin today to lean on His presence in your life more fully. Begin to listen to His call on your heart to move in this world to reveal His love. Begin to understand the power of the Holy Spirit living in the lives of His disciples still today.