Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As most of you probably know, I returned to the faith seventeen years ago. And, as I read the Gospel of Matthew for the first time, when I came to the end of it — to this passage that we just read — I heard Jesus say so clearly: “Aneel, go make disciples of all nations.” And Holy Spirit Interactive was born, with the tag line — you guessed it — Making Disciples of All Nations. The ministry has touched millions of lives since then, literally, and although we reach out to people in several different ways, the flagship of the ministry are its Schools of Discipleship. We had 135 Schools in 14 countries, and were starting a new School almost at the rate of one a week when the lockdown happened.
Now, when a commission has been given, it has to be fulfilled, and while the lockdown might be an obstacle, it cannot stand as a barrier to God’s work. Therefore, we will be launching our Schools online from next month, and I really suggest you join because, you see, this commission has not been given only to me, but to every single one of us who calls himself (or herself) a Christian. And do note the commission does not say to take the gospel to all nations, although this is undoubtedly part of the job, but to MAKE disciples of all nations. There is a difference.
But, we cannot make disciples of anybody unless we are, first, disciples ourselves. And that involves knowing Christ. As I may have said earlier, this KNOWING involves more than a KNOWLEDGE about him; it involves knowing him on a personal level, and becoming close enough to him so we know how he thinks and feels. Is this possible? Can we know this? Yes, but not by human intellect or human emotion. We need to have the mind and heart of God. And how do we get that? Through his Holy Spirit. And the gifts that the Spirit brings, especially the ones the prophet Isaiah talks about: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and piety (Isaiah 11:2).
The church starts a nine-day novena prayer for these gifts tomorrow and I recommend you do it. I am leading one such “Pentecost Novena” and you’ll find videos uploaded daily to both my YouTube and Facebook pages. I know it may seem like I am plugging a lot today, but these are things will help you grow in Christ. Besides, I have this feeling that God is raising a brand new breed of Christians, who will be true followers of Christ, working in unity and love and humility. So, do get on board.
I want to end this reflection with the words of Jesus that I have found the most reassuring through my life. He says, “Remember, I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” These are words that we can take to heart, because our God is a keeper of promises, and when he says he will be with us forever, he will be with us forever. We may disappoint him at times, hurt him at others, but he always has our backs. He knows that we sometimes forget this, which is why he says: Remember.
So, do remember. He is with you always. To the end of the age. Wish you a Happy Feast of the Ascension.