The resurrection of Jesus Christ signifies his divine authority, which makes evangelism and discipleship a central focus of practical theology for believers. For he told his eleven disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). Immediately following this statement, Jesus commanded them to “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (v. 19). From this passage we can see how the New Testament connects the resurrection with discipleship; this small group of Jesus’ closest followers began witnessing to the nations and consequently turned the world upside down theologically. Without the resurrection, what need would there be to make disciples of a solely crucified Christ? Resurrected life provides a purpose and future hope of eternity that believers can rejoice in.
The reality of the resurrection ought to impact the way believers think about (and act on) discipleship. For instance, scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona write about the importance of people skills in light of the resurrection. Humility is a key component of making disciples, for “The object is not to win the argument but rather to lead a sincere person to the truth.” Added to this, genuine love is a crucial character quality that leaves a lasting impression on a person. As well, sharing truth as a matter of discipleship involves overcoming intellectual obstacles, a ministry which J. P. Moreland advocates to “remove doubts that hinder spiritual growth.” Other helpful actions when making disciples include being a good listener and staying on the subject of the resurrection. Showing grace and empathy while making disciples will enhance a believer’s influence when sharing the hope and evidence of Christ’s resurrection. Above all, employing the practice of prayer as a regular spiritual discipline. Each of these skills can be seen within the context of the Apostle Paul’s explanation of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, extending from freedom granted by the risen Savior (5:1).
RESURRECTED LIFE PROVIDES AND PURPOSE AND FUTURE HOPE OF ETERNITY THAT BELIEVERS CAN REJOICE IN.
Reflecting upon the truth of the resurrection, this impacts my life in two ways. First, as Christ’s disciple, I desire to continue learning from His Word and enjoying fellowship with him and his church through the power of the Holy Spirit. Second, I believe it is just as important today as it was in the first century to continue the Great Commission and make disciples in my family, local church, workplace, neighborhood, and beyond. These two areas of impact are related by one element building upon the other… In 2 Timothy 2:6, Paul says, “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” As a disciple, I enjoy being fed by God’s Word first in order to be spiritually healthy and then to share that “crop” with others. What an honor it is to be (and make) disciples for Christ, who conquered death and is alive today; who is seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Ephesians 1:20); who will come again soon (Revelation 22:20).