JESUS SAYS "GO"
Scripture: Matthew 28:18–20, Mark 16:15
Memory verse: Matthew 28:19
Today's study introduces us to Jesus' final command given to His disciples just before He ascended to heaven. The Church world calls it "The Great Commission." Obeying this command is not an option (the power or right of choosing); rather it is an obligation (a moral or legal duty) of every believer in Christ Jesus.
Some things in life are a matter of choice. For example: When you pose for a photograph, you have the option to choose to smile or not to smile. It is your decision to make according to your personal preference.
Other things in life are not optional, not a matter of choice. Rather, they are an obligation over which we have no control. For example: Upon completion of secondary school, having fulfilled all requirements, you are awarded a leaving certificate. You have no choice in determining the requirements, but are obligated to meet the requirements in order to qualify for the leaving certificate.
Ask: What are other examples of things that are optional and things that are an obligation? (Allow responses.)
Jesus' command, the Great Commission as given in Matthew 28:18-20, is not an option. It is an obligation. Why? Let us examine the text and find the answer.
Hearing God's Word
The disciples had walked with Jesus, day by day, for three years. Then He was crucified, buried and three days later burst forth from the grave. Jesus remained on earth for 40 days, hanging out with His disciples on several occasions. Then He instructed them to meet Him on a certain mountain. As they arrived, Jesus came to them and gave them His final command and promise. (Ask a student to read Matthew 28:18-20.)
The Paramount Chief
Jesus began by reminding the disciples of the influence and power He held as the Son of God, the Paramount Chief. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).
"All" clearly states that He is over everything. The apostle Paul clarifies this truth in Philippians 3:21, "Who (Jesus) by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control."
"Authority" is defined as "the power to control, command or determine." The paramount Chief is in charge. He gives orders and His subjects, disciples, carry out His commands. He rules supreme in heaven and on earth.
(Ask the students to tell about commands that their local chief has given. Did people obey? Why? (Allow responses.)
Jesus has the right to give commands. He is the Son of God and the only one worthy of receiving our total commitment and compliance to His instructions.
Chief Jesus Speaks
"Therefore go" (Matthew 28:19).
The word "therefore" is an adverb meaning "as a result." As a result of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and functions as the paramount Chief, the command He gives is of great significance. Also, the disciples who carry out His command do so in His Name, under His banner, commissioned to represent Him in achieving His purposes (2 Corinthians 5:20).
"Go" means "to move or proceed to or from something, to leave a place." When Jesus says, "go", He expects action—start the process—fulfil His expectations. Jesus put it this way in Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel."
Immediate Response Anticipated
Ask: Is it necessary for true believers to take seriously the command of Jesus and respond immediately?
If it is important to Jesus, it is important to the child of God. Let us look at the responses of several to God's command to "go."
- Abraham— Genesis 12:1,4 "The Lord said to Abram, 'Go'...So Abram went."
- Isaiah—Isaiah 6:8 "The voice of the Lord...’Who will go for us?’...’Here am I. Send me!’"
- Disciples—Mark 16:15,20 ”Go into all the world...Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere." This resulted in 3,000 being saved on the Day of Pentecost and 20 years later tens of thousands of Jews had accepted Jesus as their Saviour (Acts 21:20).
- Apostles—Acts 4:33 "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." They were highly committed to preach the gospel and their passion to introduce Jesus to everyone resulted in 11 of them dying a martyr's death. Tradition has it that the apostle John died peacefully in his old age after being returned from his exile on the island of Patmos to the city of Ephesus.
Response Demands an Action Plan
Christian theologian Origen of Alexandria at the beginning of the third century (AD 200) wrote that the apostles divided up the work of evangelizing the world between them. Peter, for example, took the present day country of Turkey, Thomas was assigned to today's India, and John was given Asia. They were serious about taking the gospel to their known world.
Obligation to Respond
Jesus made it clear that every believer had an obligation to preach the gospel for His command to "go" remains relevant "to the very end of the age" (Ask a student to read Matthew 28:20).
Ask: What is meant by the term "end of the age?"
Accepting God's Word
God's people in every generation are His representatives, His ambassadors, to the unbelieving public. Until "time" is no more, until Jesus returns at the rapture of the Church, each generation of born-again believers has an obligation to fulfil—the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20.
Do you know Jesus as your Saviour? You are of great value to Him. He needs you to achieve His plan "that none should perish in their sins." Chief Jesus challenges you today to respond in obedience to His command to "go" by making a commitment to share the gospel with your friends, your tribe, the unreached people groups of Africa and the world.
Present the information about the Digo tribe given below. Show the video, if possible.
Meet the Digo
Born-Again Believers: 0.05%
SEE THE VIDEO:
The Digo are a Muslim Bantu tribe living in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. They are grouped together with eight other tribes who share a common oral history. Together, these tribes make up the Mijikenda, or "nine towns". Tradition tells us that the Mijikenda tribes originated farther north, but were driven south as a result of war.
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Digo experienced a great famine. It became common for them to give either themselves or their children as "blood money" to serve as temporary collateral for a loan of food. Sadly, there were many times when the debt could not be redeemed, thus leaving them to live as slaves. Freedom was then granted when a slave converted to Islam.
For many years, the Digo have been involved in trade with Muslim Arabs. As a result, they have enjoyed a higher standard of living than most of their neighbouring tribes.
Islam is more widely accepted among the Digo than among any of the other Mijikenda tribes. Nevertheless, ties with traditional practices such as animism (the belief that non-human objects have spirits) and ancestor worship (praying to ancestors for help and guidance) still have more influence on the Digo community than does Islam.
The people have adopted new attire and diets from their Muslim Arab neighbours. However, to most Digo, the wearing of a white skullcap and the adoption of an Arab name constitute the major requirements of being Muslim. This nominal identification with Islam is referred to as "folk Islam".
The Digo have never been successfully reached with the Gospel. Determined prayer efforts must be made to see the barriers surrounding them broken. Most Digo experience some degree of persecution when they become Christians, and many are disinherited by their families. However, there have been reports that tolerance has increased and persecution has lessened in recent years.
The few Digo born-again believers are strong in their faith, but scattered throughout the tribe. Many have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour while away in secondary school. It is evident that they need encouragement from believers outside their tribe and outside assistance in presenting the gospel to the Digo. Will you consider going to the Digo? When God asked Isaiah, "Whom shall I send?" he answered, "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Digo Tribe
1. The Lord to awaken the tribe to its need of the gospel,
2. Government workers from other tribes who are working in Digo areas to be a witness
3. Christian business people to recognize that God has placed them among the Digo to share the gospel as well as to make a living.
"Ask and it will be given to you….For everyone who asks receives" (Matthew 7:7-8).
Remember: JESUS SAYS "GO"
Memory verse: Matthew 28:19
1. The Great Commission is not an option. It is an obligation.
2. When Jesus says, "go", He expects action.
3. I am God's ambassador to unbelieving youth.
Pray for the Digo Tribe.
Study 1 | Jesus Says Go/We Believe | africaatts.org/go-teach