And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
Well, this is pretty clear. The grammarian in me notices right away that the “go ye therefore, and teach…” is in the imperative – a direction or command. As Christians, we have one over-riding job: to teach what Jesus taught.
But what about this “all nations” thing? Are we all to travel to foreign lands to do this teaching? I think not. “All nations” includes the people in our workplaces, our grocery stores, the restaurants and coffee shops we haunt, and even our churches.
“All nations” means the place where we are at the moment.
“But I’m no teacher” you say. Ah, but you are. You teach by example. The way you handle yourself in difficult situations, when you are gracious to someone who has been ungracious, the faith you exhibit in the face of tragedy and loss are lessons seen and absorbed by those around you. If your response to unfavorable situations is sufficiently different from theirs, they will come to you with questions.
After a particularly nasty time in my life, people came to me saying things like “you’re so strong,” and “I don’t see how you do it.” That gave me the opportunity to say that I wasn’t strong, but I knew where to lean which made me look strong.
You see, our teaching others is simply an opportunity to brag on God, to tell them how wonderful He is and all the beautiful things He does for us. We need not have an educational agenda – a lesson plan, if you will. Our job is simply to answer the questions asked and to step out of the way so the Holy Spirit can do His work of convicting and wooing and teaching.
The best teachers are facilitators. They share their knowledge and instill a thirst for more knowledge in their students. There is no way that I can wrap my finite little mind around the magnificence of our infinite God. But I can share what I know and help create a thirst in others to know more.
“Go ye therefore, and teach…”
Help us to exemplify all that You would have us teach others. Give us the patience to wait for the questions and the wisdom to answer just enough to start the questioner on his journey to You. Fill our mouths alternately with Your words and Your silence. Let us not fall in love with the sound of our own voices.
In Jesus’ most precious name.