Go and Make Disciples
The Great Commission
A bottle with a message inside.
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)
Have you ever read a story or seen a movie about someone putting a message inside of a bottle and putting it in the ocean? Perhaps it was someone who has been stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean and put a message in a bottle hoping that someone would find it and come to rescue him. Maybe it was someone who just wanted to see where the wind and the waves might take the message.
I read a true story about a man named Harold Meyers who went on a cruise in the Caribbean. While on the ship, he took three bottles and placed a message with his name and address and a dollar inside each bottle. The dollar was to pay the postage so that the person who found the message would write to him and tell him where they found it. Next, he put a cork in the bottles, sealed them with wax, and threw them over the side of the ship into the ocean. His friends all teased him saying that he was just throwing good money into the ocean.
Well, what happened to those bottles is quite amazing. Of those three bottles he threw into the ocean, two were found and he received a reply from the person who found it. Two out of three! That's amazing!
"To tell you the truth," Mr. Meyers said, "I was shocked. I guess I really never expected to hear from anybody at all."
I was thinking, perhaps that might be a good way to spread the message of Jesus all around the world. We could write John 3:16 on pieces of paper. You know John 3:16, don't you? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We could write that on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, and drop it in the ocean. Then the good news of Jesus would float all around the world.
Does that sound like a good plan to you? Well, to tell the truth, I think that sounds like a pretty foolish plan. I don't think that would get the message of God's love to very many people. What would be a good way to get the good news of God's love to people all around the world? Jesus told his disciples how he wanted it done, and the plan is still just as good today as it was then.
Jesus said, "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." Jesus wants us to tell everyone we meet about his love for them and share with them what he has taught us in the Bible. He didn't say, "Send a message in a bottle," he said, "Go and make disciples."
Dear Father, help us to obey the command that you gave us to go and make disciples. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.