The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathaniel asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:43-46 NIV)
Three or so years after Philip told Nathaniel to “come and see,” Jesus gave His disciples (all of us) a command:
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 28:18-20 NIV)
Jesus was preparing to ascend into heaven. His work in earth was completed, and He was giving some last minute instructions.
It seems we often miss part of this command. All to often, we simply say that Jesus said, “Go”. Yet, Jesus’ command went much further than that. “Go!” was only the beginning.
Jesus said to “Go, and…”
The “and” is where we often miss the boat.
What we tend to miss is the whole “teach them to do what I taught you to do.”
In our initial text, Philip carried out the command that would be given later. Philip learns about Jesus. Jesus calls him to “Follow”. “Be my disciple,” Jesus tells Philip. And Philip responds by going to Nathaniel and sharing this message.
Disciple making disciple.
And, that, is the call of Christ to all of us.
Jesus’ command to His followers was to go and make disciples who, in turn, go and make disciples. The command, like most Kingdom principles, is cyclical. We go, make disciples, they go, make disciples, they go, etc.
It’s not enough for us to just go. We go and make disciples who will go and make disciples. That’s the way of the Kingdom.
When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (John 15:8 NLT)
In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus spends time telling His disciples about how we are part of a vine. The Father cultivates us to produce fruit–to make disciples who make disciples. The alternative to producing fruit is to become a stump. Cut back to nothing in hopes that the new growth would produce fruit.
It’s all about disciples who make disciples.
To be fruit-full in the Kingdom is to follow Christ’s command to go make disciples who go and make disciples. To merely convert is not enough. To fully follow Christ’s command evangelization must be followed by discipleship. To be truly fruit-full in the Kingdom is to make disciples who make disciples.
Are you a fruitful vine or a stump?