Jesus’ primary mission was to train disciples to make disciples. The other stuff was just demonstration. #discipleship
Twitter-verse makes the above statement a hard environment to unpack and react to probably the gut-check response by some: but what about the Cross, what about the poor, what about the lost, and what about Satan?
1) The Cross: First we can never view the cross apart from the empty-tomb as Calvin said, they have to go together; otherwise neither was necessary, and Jesus turns into just an interesting historical figure. But the work of Cross paid for our sins that sets us free to become Christ’s followers (disciples). You see to become a disciple-maker you have to turn your attention from your inward-self and be untangled from the things that hold us back (sin) such as pride, greed, sexual desire. The Cross is the catalyst of disciple-making because it frees us as followers to invite others to follow.
2) The Poor: Here is where I will upset my progressive collegues. Jesus primary mission was not to eradicate poverty–if it was, then let’s look at the impact over 2000 years…yep, he was not very good at that mission. In fact, Jesus himself said that the poor will ALWAYS be among us. That is a rather defeatist attitude if that was his primary mission. Rather, Jesus demonstrates that his mission was for the disciples to be known for their generosity and love towards the physical poor and the poor in spirit: The first report of Christians from a non-Christian was that “They were the [crazy] people who give to others without even knowing their name” (Barry paraphrase). Caring for the poor is a demonstration of disciple-making because it is other-focused by its very nature: anyone can love someone who will love/give in return, but to love the poor is effectively saying nothing is due back.
3) The least/lost/last: The miracles of Jesus–healing the leper, opening blind eyes, eating with the sinners, feeding 5000: All of this was a process of disciple-making. This was the way in which Christ engaged people in order to invite and demonstrate how we make disciples. We GO to them, not wait on them to show up on our campuses.
4) Satan: Ah, a Presbyterian minister calling the Devil for what he is…Christ conquered Satan’s grasp over our lives through the resurrection from Hell (ohhh he even said Hell, with a capital H). This victory is what sets for us a new path to follow. And so the disciple-making turns us from following one path, and start following His path the life affirming one.
Jesus’ mission objective was to turn and invite people into relationship with Him in order that they may invite other people along the journey.