Matthew 28:18-20 states, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” In a previous post we unpacked a few thoughts around the phrase ‘teaching them to obey,’ and the fact the passage does not say ‘making’ them obey or ‘telling’ them to obey.

However, in this post lets rethink the phrase that precedes the obedience statement. Typically when we have read this passage and see ‘baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,’ we immediately jump to the act of baptism as the clear command that Jesus is giving the disciples as He is commissioning them to disciple nations. Without negating this understanding lets look at a nuance that I believe is incredibly important as a precursor to teaching people to obey Jesus commands.

The actual word ‘baptizing’ can mean to overwhelm or submerge. So, for a moment lets take a step back and read what Jesus commanded the disciples to overwhelm or submerge people within. He states, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The word for ‘name’ in greek covers all thoughts and emotions which are aroused in a persons mind by mentioning, hearing, or remembering the stated name.

What if this passage also means to immerse, to overwhelm the senses, and submerge in a persons understanding their place in Christ and the relationship they now share with the Father and the Holy Spirit because of the person and work of Jesus?! What if knowing your position in Christ, the power that resides in you because of Him, and the life of the Trinity now weaved into your existence is the firm foundation to teach people to obey?! What if a key component for not seeing people obey God, is they still view God as outside of them and their obedience is what gets them closer to God.

What if the opposite is true? What if His obedience planted you in a relationship with the God-head, and now immersion in that reality, awakens your heart to the truth of who you are in Christ? What if His life is the source of teaching people to obey? What if obedience is simply being who we really are and not working against the grain by relying on self-will? These are all great questions to ponder and process with God Himself. Let me close by encouraging you to let Spirt of God joyfully immerse you in an understanding of His life in which you now freely participate in. This is incredibly good news!

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