Week of Monday, July 5 ­– Sunday, July 11
Followers – Man as Battle Buddy

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

In the social media driven world we live in, we are often evaluated by the number of “followers” we have. People want to know: “How many followers do you have on Twitter?” Frankly, I don’t know because I shut down my account before the “woke progressive Twitter overlords” did it for me for being so politically incorrect. But I digress… Having “followers” is a big deal, even big business. In fact, major advertising dollars come to those who have a bunch of followers on YouTube. It’s hard to believe, but some people who video themselves doing stupid things and post it all online can actually make a living just because people “follow” them.

Well, it is one thing to have “followers” on Twitter, YouTube, or any number of social media channels, but what Jesus directed His followers to do before He ascended to heaven was quite a bit different. He commanded them to “make disciples.” He wasn’t talking about getting on your soapbox and going on a rant to get a following or doing something funny or physically challenging to get a following. What He commanded them (and us) is much more involved, challenging, and time consuming, but also much more rewarding. His directive is commonly referred to as the “Great Commission.”

Basically, our Lord gave us a mission that involves mentoring. He was telling His followers to find people who are open to the Gospel and share Christ with them. If these people surrender their lives to follow Him, we are then to encourage them to be baptized and become a part of a Bible preaching church. Ultimately, we are to begin teaching them systematically all that Jesus had taught us. Again, we are talking about mentoring. Mentoring is exactly what Moses did with Joshua and Paul did with Timothy. It is fundamental to the process of making disciples.

Based on the mission Jesus left us before ascending into heaven, it is God’s will for men who follow Him to develop other “followers,” serving as a battle buddy or as an Instructor by mentoring new believers. Specifically, He wants us to purposefully invest ourselves in the lives of other men around us to share Christ with them, then help them take the first step of obedience by professing their new faith by being baptized, then begin teaching and discipling them in the word. This is a significant investment, but it isn’t optional. It is a command from the One to whom “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given” (v. 16). Yet this command carries with it a promise—the promise of His presence: “And behold, I am with you always”... (v. 20).

Now, it doesn’t mean if you haven’t successfully shared the gospel yet or you don’t have any “followers” that you’re not a bona fide Christian. But if you are a real follower of Christ, you will seek to develop more of His followers. You might ask: “Where do I start?” It is all about relationships. You can’t make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey all of the Lord’s commands if you don’t have some sort of ongoing, meaningful relationship. Think about the men you work with, sit next to at baseball games, and live next door to. These are relationships in which you can go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.

Maybe you don’t feel up to the task of starting a conversation. Join the club—you wouldn’t be the first to admit that. Yet the Lord left us a promise that makes it all possible: His ongoing presence (v. 20). Open your heart to Him, let Him fill you with His presence, let Him direct your words and the conversation. I can assure you He will do it! Let’s be about the Master’s mission of developing His followers.

  • Why do you think Jesus began and ended His commission to us in Matthew 28 with an assurance and a promise?
  • How can you invest this week in the life of a man in your circle of relationships who is not yet a follower of Christ or maybe is a new follower and yet needs a mentor?
  • Thank God for entrusting you with the privilege of sharing the Gospel message and mentoring new followers of Christ. Ask Him to fill you with His presence for this all-important mission.