Depending on your translation, you will find there are just under 800,000 words in the Bible. If you remove the duplications across the Gospels, a little over 1,000 of those words were spoken by Jesus. So to select only ten of those words and declare them to be the ‘most important’ is a bold move. However, in our current context as new covenant believers living this side of the cross of Christ, I am confident in my selection of the ten most important words of Jesus.
The first five words appear in the dialogue between Jesus and Peter which we can read in Matthew 16, just after Peter rightly declares Jesus to be the Messiah. The second five words appear in what we call ‘The Great Commission’ at the very end of Matthew’s gospel.
“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” ( Matthew 16:16-19 )
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ( Matthew 28:18-20 )
So if we put these two statements together, we see the simplicity of the mission of Christ and our part in that mission: “I will build my Church … go therefore and make disciples.”
When Jesus builds His church, He does the building by using disciples just like you and me. Through imperfect people like us God works to create His perfect and beautiful Bride, the Church.
So by all means we should keep praying that Jesus will build His Church, but unless we roll up our sleeves and by the power of the Holy Spirit, go and make disciples, that prayer may not be answered through us. Christ builds His Church as we make disciples.