Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20).
Although we now know that Jesus founded a Church and that this Church is the guardian of truth, we still don’t know the identity of that Church. With thousands of Christian churches to choose from, where do we begin? Fortunately, by looking at some more clues we can narrow down our list of choices.
In today’s passage, known as the Great Commission, Jesus instructs the Apostles to carry on His work of making disciples. The Lord is clear when He lists the way that this should be done:
1. Through baptism.
2. By teaching the future disciples to observe all that Jesus has commanded.
Jesus’ mention of baptism as a requirement for discipleship is an important clue when trying to find the one, true Church. In fact, in Saint Mark’s version of the Great Commission, he adds emphasis to the importance of baptism with the words, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16). While many Christian churches baptize their members, not all of them consider baptism to be a sacrament and necessary for salvation. Our list of potential churches has just gotten A LOT smaller!
Tomorrow: Jesus confirms that baptism is necessary for salvation (John 3:1-5)