Bonus Content from March 10

There were no sermon questions texted this week. However, as promised, below is a fuller explanation of the debate regarding the word “go” (“Therefore go and make disciples…).

If you’ve been around church for awhile, you’ve probably heard multiple sermons on this passage that present different ideas on this word “go.”
One preacher titles his sermon “put the GO in the gospel” and says, “You can’t obey the command to make disciples until you follow the first command of verse 19 (in our English Bibles) to leave behind your normal daily life and go!”
Another preacher points out (rightly) that “go” isn’t technically a command here in Greek, so (they say) the sense is more like “as you go.” In other words, “Just go about your daily life, doing what you already do, and if you happen to get an opportunity to make a disciple, go for it!”
For the average Christian who hasn’t taken Greek, it’s a bit frustrating to hear two sermons making opposite points about the same verse with high conviction. So which one is it: first you have to go? Or just keep doing what you normally do, and “as you go,” make disciples?
Good news! We actually don’t need to be Greek scholars to adjudicate this one. Sure, it’s true that “go” is not a command here in the Greek technically speaking. But does that necessarily mean that the sense is something like a casual “as you go” about the life you’re already living?
Look at the rest of the sentence. “Go therefore and make disciples of” whom? All nations. How are we going to make disciples of all nations if all of us just make disciples “as we go” about the lives we were already living? How would disciples ever have been made in Samaria? How would disciples ever have been made in India or Ireland or in any of the farthest reaches of the earth if Christians would have treated this part of the sentence as a casual “as you go”?
“Go” doesn’t need to be a command in order for it to be a necessary action for us to carry out the command to make disciples. Making disciples of all nations is going to require some intentionality on our part, going to places we wouldn’t normally have gone, seeking out relationships we wouldn’t normally have sought out, and sending other Christians on missions to places outside of our own culture.
So here’s an application on the “going.” There may well be opportunities for disciplemaking within your everyday rhythms of home life, work life, and recreation or leisure activities. But if you’re just going through the motions hoping to stumble upon disciplemaking opportunities without making any alterations to those rhythms, you need to give some more thought to this “go.” Maybe you need to proactively prioritize time with a coworker you don’t ordinarily spend much time with. Maybe you need to intentionally work out or visit Starbucks at the same time of day so that you start developing relationships with the same people you see there. You don’t just stumble into disciplemaking any more than you just stumble into discipleship.