Go, Make … Apprentices

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).

Welcome to this final week in our Spiritual Power in Everyday Places series.  This series has generated a lot of good questions and stimulated some good new learning.  May that continue and grow!

To set the scene for this week’s passage: The resurrected Jesus tells the remaining eleven disciples to meet him in Galilee.  They do so, and he there instructs them to, in a nutshell, change the world: “Go, make disciples of all nations …”  Matthew adds that, even though they were meeting and hearing the resurrected Lord, nevertheless “some of them doubted.”  Doesn’t seem like an auspicious beginning for a world-changing movement.

And yet here we are, recipients of their faithfulness.  Eleven ordinary lives, some of them beset with doubts, yet they, and the ones they discipled, and the ones they discipled, and the ones they discipled have indeed changed the world. All the way down to changing us.

We are followers of Christ today because of twenty centuries of faithful Christ-following by our ancestors in the faith.  And with that inheritance comes the responsibility to continue the work. To have authority also means that we have been given a commission. The world stands in need of some changing still!

Some are beginning to use the term “apprentice” as another way of saying “disciple.”  I like that: we are apprentices of Jesus.  

An apprentice learns from a master.  Jesus is the Master of life, the Master of how to “do life” on God’s terms, in God’s ways, according to God’s Word, for God’s purposes.  It is life that is abundant and eternal.  It is life whose center is Christ and whose form is cross-and-resurrection.  It is life that is spiritually fruitful, rather than being merely productive or efficient or pleasurable.  It is life, beautiful, gracious and glorious, and it is designed for, and works in, our everyday places.

An apprentice is someone who is learning to do.  Apprenticing may involve some “book learning,” but it is primarily a down-to-earth, practical, hands-on, here’s-how-you-do-it kind of learning.  The end of an apprenticing process might involve some pencil-and-paper tests, but the real test is this: can you do what you have been taught?  Can you fix the plumbing, wire a house, perform this sort of surgery, play this music the way it’s supposed to be played?  Apprentice others to the way of Jesus?

We already have our everyday places.

And we – you! -- have already been authorized by the Master to join his apprentice-making work in those places.  You may have your doubts, but that does not change his authorization of you.  You may think you are disqualified, but you are not.  You might think Jesus has made a mistake in your case, but you would be wrong.  You might think you have learned all you need to, but …

So, fellow apprentices of Life in our Master, let’s go make apprentices, teaching them to do – teaching them how to live – in all the ways the Master commands.

And let’s know that our Master continually accompanies us in the work, even to the end of the age!

Lord Jesus, Master of Life, teach me how to truly live – and how to help others to learn and to walk in your “lifeways.”

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.