After Jesus’ resurrection and before He left His disciples, He spoke a clear mandate to these future world changers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).
In this mandate no one was exempt from the task of going and the task of making disciples. Even the people listening to Jesus that day who doubted weren’t exempt. Jesus didn’t ignore them; He empowered them as well (Matt. 28:17). He empowered everyone on the mountainside whether they were full of faith or not. Their power to make disciples was found not in their own abilities or talents but in Jesus, in whom “all authority has been given…in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).
Believe me, God knew what He was getting with these weak people. Thomas had doubted Him, Peter had denied Him and the rest had hidden themselves waiting it out. These were not the mighty men of valor who looked like they would turn the world upside down. It was Jesus’ authority and power that would sustain them for the work ahead. And it did. The early church spread the Good News far and wide, telling everyone about Jesus’ resurrection. It was not up to them—it was up to Jesus to get this work of discipleship done. They had to simply obey. Even as He expanded the mandate from their little parcel of earth in Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth, it was still His power that would enable them.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” —Acts 1:8
Jesus took the pressure off these fishermen to change the world on their own and put it on Himself and the power of His Holy Spirit. This power is still available to us as modern-day disciples of Jesus. If we think we will change the world in politics or government in and of ourselves, we are deceived. We cannot do anything without His wisdom and strength. If the people of God with the Spirit of God are not impacting our world with the truth and wisdom given by Him, then what do we really have? Nothing. Politics alone will not save America.
God’s promise to us today is the same as it was to the disciples on the mountain before Jesus was glorified and went into heaven: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
As believers in Jesus engaging in a world of political activity, we must know that God loves the people of our nation more than we do. He wants to see discipleship happen in individual lives even more than we do so that they will change organizations and government systems.
Americans are not exempt from the command of discipleship. We are to go everywhere: to our city council chambers, our school boards, our state houses and even one of the darkest places on the planet: Washington, DC.
Depending on who are in the seats of power, our government has the opportunity to become better or worse. We have a responsibility to affect change, but it starts one life at a time and one heart at a time. Our nation is only as good as our leaders and our participation in our government. In other words, our nation needs discipleship from top to bottom.
As Christians, we are called to impact America one heart at a time, even one elected official at a time. We all must come to the place where we say, “I have decided to follow Jesus” and walk that road of surrender together, encouraging each other along the path. True life is found in knowing Jesus, in each other, and in giving of ourselves so that others might live.
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