I love the way that the Bible account of the life of Jesus doesn’t paper over the frailties and weaknesses of his followers. It seems that throughout their 3 years of intensive training with Jesus the 12 disciples were bumblers, stumblers and jumblers. They often didn’t know what to say, they got it wrong and they got it mixed up; and even after Jesus rose from the dead the Bible says, “When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted” (28:17).
The Bible does not even attempt to suggest that the followers of Jesus had some kind of blind faith. No, the Bible is clear that Jesus’s followers struggled to understand who he was and what his mission was. So if you can’t quite work out what was going on as I baptised Larissa just now, or if you don’t understand why God showed up in person as a baby, or if the death and resurrection of Jesus leaves you mystified …you are in good company with his first disciples!
Are you with me so far? As Jesus stood on the mountainside with his disciples, after his resurrection from the dead, and as some of them doubted even as they worshipped him, Jesus said this. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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” (28:18-20).
The Final instruction of Jesus was to make disciples from every nation – men, women and children living like Jesus; because Jesus wants a world where the outcast is brought in, where the poor are fed, where love and forgiveness defeats evil, where husbands and wives are faithful, where life is honoured and valued - not wasted; where Meriam Ibrahim and millions like her are free to worship and to marry.
Jesus wants a world of truth and justice, where men stand up against injustice, where human trafficking is ended and where children are safe to learn, and live, and play, and enjoy the love of their parents.
That’s the kind of world that Jesus wants and I do too!
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples and baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (28:19). That’s how we baptised Larissa; but why Father, Son and Holy Spirit? It is because God – who is one – has revealed Himself as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit.
God has revealed Himself to be our Heavenly Father. That’s why we start the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “Our Father in heaven”; and whether we’ve had a good relationship or a not so good relationship with our earthly Father, He can be trusted to always do the right thing, to always be faithful, to always be true.
God has revealed Himself as a Son, because God did not send someone else into the world to die on a cross. No, he came Himself. He came as an obedient Son – Jesus – showing us the full extent of God’s love, showing us what God is really like. Listen to Jesus, learn from Jesus, and live like Jesus and we get to know God properly.
God reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit, sent into the world to bring comfort, wisdom and knowledge, and sent to bring the healing power of Jesus to you and me; and so we baptised Larissa in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Spirit – in the name of God who has revealed Himself as a Trinity.
What about you? Where are you in relation to God? Do you doubt like Jesus’s disciples doubted? He can handle that! Do you want to live in a world that works the way Jesus wants it to work? I do. Are you ready to get to know God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit?