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Keep making disciples and baptizing them

August 31, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus’ resurrection was not the end of his story. It launched a new chapter in establishing his eternal kingdom. As people who believe Jesus is alive, we don’t just sit idly and watch God search for others. Jesus’ “marching orders” to his followers were that we be his witnesses, making disciples, baptizing and teaching, active partners in God’s work of calling humans back to God. God would empower them for their mission. It’s still our mission, and Jesus promised to be with us every day.

  • In what ways does believing that Jesus rose from the dead change your heart and life? How does the resurrection make Jesus’ claim to have the divine authority to forgive your sins credible for you? In what ways are you gifted to help carry out Jesus’ directive? How does Jesus’ command to live out his mission shape your understanding of what it means for Resurrection to be “the church”?
  • Jesus said, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth.” In the first century, that meant that not even the mighty Roman Empire could block him from being with his followers. And no power on earth today has the authority to make Jesus abandon you. How can trusting Jesus is with you give you courage, strength and peace for all of life’s challenges?

Lord Jesus, you and I need to work out the details together. But the big mission of my life with you is clear: I am, in whatever ways I fit best, to lead others to serve you as baptized disciples. Guide me to the way(s) you want me to join in that mission. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of David Andersen

David Andersen

David Andersen is a life-long Kansas City native.  He’s been married over 30 years and has two adult sons.  He loves composing music, learning new things, writing, running, and creating spaces where people can encounter God.  David became the Leadership Development and Mentoring Ministry Program Director at Resurrection in May 2023.

I was first baptized when I was seven years old. My family had just started attending a new church and they had a revival–a week of church services every night intended to get us excited about the things of God again. On that Friday night, the evangelist asked the congregation, “If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain you would go to heaven?” I’d never heard this idea, and certainly didn’t want to be on God’s bad side, so I accepted Jesus into my heart and was baptized as soon as possible after that.  

I was baptized a second time when I was fifteen years old. The tradition I was raised in practiced “Believers Baptism” which meant the person being baptized had to understand what they were committing to through the ordinance of baptism. I felt like during the eight years since my first baptism, I’d been a pretty poor Christian. I cussed. I thought too much about girls. I didn’t evangelize enough people. I believed my first baptism didn’t count because I didn’t understand the commitment I was making. So, I was baptized a second time, because THIS TIME, I really meant it. 

Except it didn’t work. When I graduated from high school, I abandoned Jesus and Christianity and spent the next ten years actively avoiding all things Christian.    

I came back to the Church and Jesus slowly and by my early 30s, I’d surrendered my life to Jesus again. This time around I ended up with a group of Jesus followers who loved me well and pointed me to the idea today’s verse draws out so well. What you get when you follow Jesus is a community, a mission, a purposeful way of living, and an ethic to guide your discernment and experience of this world. But you also get something more powerful than any of these things–the one thing that is the greatest treasure of the faith: You get Jesus himself. As he says, “I myself will be with you.”  

When I had this realization, I considered being baptized again. Instead, I reaffirmed my baptism(s). At seven, and again at fifteen, I’d committed my life to Jesus in the best way I knew how at the time. And in my thirties, I did the same thing, surrendering to Jesus in the context of what I understood at the time. My understanding of this journey with Jesus has grown, changed, and deepened over the years, and I’m grateful to say that this morning I remembered my baptism(s) again. Each day, I surrender myself to Jesus again knowing that I have an imperfect understanding of Jesus, God, the Church, and myself. And each day, I trust that Jesus will be with me, helping me live into the mission and calling he has for me in my current context despite the parts I don’t understand.  

Let me ask one of today’s GPS questions again: “How can trusting Jesus is with you give you courage, strength and peace for all of life’s challenges?” For me, it’s made all of the difference. 

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.