Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John
(though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. (John 4:1-3)
Read: Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:20
Relate: At the end of Matthew sits one of the final, and one of the most famous, commands of Jesus. Normally it reads something like this: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It looks in English like Jesus is using four verbs in this command: 1)Go, 2)Make Disciples, 3)Baptize, 4)Teach. But in reality there is only one verb: Make disciples. The other three are participles dependent on that verb. For those who need that English grammar statement translated into “English” that means the other three words describe how the action of “making disciples” is to be done.
React: When it comes to discipleship we hear a lot about the going and the teaching. There is a big emphasis among Christians serious about the great commission to the going part and making sure that the going is followed up with the teaching. The baptizing seems to fall by the wayside. It gets overlooked. Yes, it is important but lets keep the emphasis on _______ first. You fill in the blank. Let me make it clear, if you want to be a follower of Christ, you must be baptized. In case you didn’t catch that let me say it again. If you want to be a follower of Christ you must be baptized. There are only two ordinances for the church. What I mean by that are there two religious practices authorized, or mandated, by God. Those are baptism and communion. These aren’t options. They are directives. Communion was commissioned at the end of His ministry but baptism has been linked to discipleship right from the start. It still is. (For more on what baptism is and means, check out Baptized)