Hearing another Matthew 28 exhortation to be witnesses to the nations brings trepidation to me. This verse has been a 13-dollar bill for many churches: its savage and less than thoughtful use would frighten Yeshua.
18) Jesus however came near and said to them, “All power in Heaven and over the earth has been given to me. 19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations; baptize them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; 20) and teach them to obey every command which I have given you. And remember, I am with you always, day by day, until the Close of the Age.”Matthew 28:18-20
Checklist for being a witness
- Go: not a travel demand. Every person who had come to Christ had been dispatched into the world. Πορευθεντες (poreuthentes) means having gone.
- Make disciples: “teach” (King James version) confuses the duties. To matheteusate someone is to enrol him for learning. Manthano means I learn. A disciple (a mathetes) is not identified by his accomplishments but by his place in the school.
- People are enrolled through baptism.
- Baptism is to be followed by education or teaching the curriculum that Yeshua published
We cannot accept:
- Teaching before enrollment
- Teaching that people can never understand
- Teaching that is aimed at instant maturity
- Teaching that denies the convert his disciple (learner) status
- Teaching that fudges on committing the disciple to Messianic doctrine exclusively
Teach, teach, baptize, teach.
Pure indoctrination is typically heavy on law and condemnation. Oppressive and misguided groups rely on doctrine that is usually featherweight on grace and philanthropy.
We cannot be witnesses to Christ with teaching that quite literally embarrasses Christ and the apostolic message. No apostle ever said that the Way’s disciples needed to also be Moses’ disciples, but James did. If we claim to have found one that does two problems arise. That apostle is not one who was an eyewitness and that apostle is not committed to hearing Yeshua. “Teach, teach, baptize, teach” results in people who are proud of turning their eyes away from Yeshua so that they can pursue (no one can ever be Israel.2) a reputation as God’s true people.
At least our covenant arrangements should clear the fog. The covenant of the broken body and shed blood is not an invitation to do our part to become God’s people like the Sinai covenant.
follow these rules and you will become a peculiar people, a kingdom of priests
If Yeshua cannot replace patriarchal and Mosaic teaching the divine command to hear the Beloved Son and the prediction of his arrival are mere words.
And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.Mark 9:7
18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.Deuteronomy 18:18-19
17. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:2 Peter 1:17-19
God’s people are known in the Old Testament as covetous, lying, and incorrigible. They are revolters, stuck in kindergarten, determined to show that the Bible needs their opinions to be reliable. They learn but never acknowledge the truth.