Salem Lutheran Church

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The Great Commission

Dear Salem Family,

We dwell in the word in staff meetings on the text two weeks out. And this week I was struck by something in the Matthew text, Matthew 28:16-20, 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I was struck by the clarity of the great commission, but yet, how often is that clear direction muddled by my own desire for what I want that to mean? Jesus is saying some great things on that mountain. He is calling me to make disciples, he is calling me to teach others about what he has commanded me, and he is telling me he is always with me. When I think about this commission, I think about how clear he is in his delivery. Yet, as humans, we can take this and make it what we want it to be, and we create what those commands are.

Isn’t that how a lot of things are, though? I mean, I can remember as a kid (and I bet my parents will tell you the same thing) that when they gave me a command, I liked to interpret that command as I wanted it. Be home by 10 p.m., meant be home by 10 p.m., not call at 9:55 p.m. and say, “Hey mom! We’re having so much fun, can I please stay later?”. You can go play outside meant you can play outside within reasonable distance, not walk to McDonald’s and back. These are all things I knew, but that didn’t stop me from “interpreting” their rules as I saw fit. I think sometimes I can translate this to what I hear Jesus saying. He is calling me to teach others to love, not teach others to judge, condemn, or follow law. But if I’m going to teach others to love, I better be an example of that love. That is hard. Isn’t it easier to teach the laws of the Bible than to be an example of love?

We are human and we will fail. But, I know my humanness can sometimes be an excuse rather than doing the hard work, and I need to be reminded of this at times. This is hard work Jesus calls us to, but as a Christian we are called. I am called to love, I am called to make disciples, I am called to teach others about the great love of Jesus.

In Christ’s Love,

Meghan Harmison
Director of Adult Ministries and Outreach


Tags: Weekly Word