Go And Make Disciples

Repent!

What picture does that word bring to your mind?

I think visually. When I hear that word, especially with the exclamation point punctuation denoting shouting, I have a definite picture in my mind.

In the Lerner and Loewe musical “Paint Your Wagon” a guy discovers gold near a creek during the “Gold Rush” and eventually a city grows up there. In the space of only a few years, gambling houses, bars and prostitutes fill the city.

Then the preacher comes. He’s dressed all in black. Black hat. Black beard. Scowl on his face. He shouts at the people, “Repent!”

That guy comes to mind when I hear the word.

Too many Americans, and I’d bet in many other cultures, conjure a similar image. It has become a standard image of the sour person who loves pointing out the failures of others picture of a Christian.

That’s too bad. Repent simply means changing the direction of life. We were once going one way. Hurting others. Hurting ourselves. Then, we changed life direction. We got in tune with God. We started to live differently. We help others. We are focused on living with God rather than against Him.

Our Commission

I’m thinking a lot about a couple of passages.

After Jesus was resurrected, he visited the remaining eleven apostles (leading disciples) and gave them an instruction about what to do now: “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Later, when Peter began to preach during the Pentecost coming of the Holy Spirit, he began with, “Repent.”

The reason I’m contemplating these passages (and further through Acts 2) is that I’ve recently taken on a leadership role for missions. To me, that is the crucial role in a church. As one of my mentors says, “Jesus started a mission; the church came later.”

Why do we do missions? Because Jesus told us to go to all nations (that would be all peoples, all cultures, all geographies) and make disciples (not scream at, but help them change directions and begin to follow him).

We help them change (repent); help them become disciples (follow and emulate the Teacher); teach them. Three action verbs. My study and meditation are merely to prepare me to do those things.

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