Here We Go

Did you know that Jesus has the authority to give us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) The eleven disciples do not immediately go to Galilee as instructed. Instead, they hide behind closed doors in Jerusalem fearing the Jews. John 20:19~On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (NIV) If I had been Jesus, I would have appeared and said Boo. However, Jesus is too loving and understanding to do that. He recognizes their lack of faith, and first meets them in Jerusalem and later, Galilee. 

Matthew 28:16-17~Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (ESV) This short phrase, and many others like it, prove the integrity of the Bible. Revealing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Face it, some of us would have doubted. The disciples are such excellent examples of how God remains faithful 2 Timothy 2:13~if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (NIV) Matthew 28:18~And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (ESV) Jesus is no longer the Suffering Savior. He is the Resurrected Messiah who has all authority. 

On His authority, Jesus gives His disciples the Great Commission Matthew 28:19~Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (ESV) Matthew 28:20~teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (ESV) Jesus has just commanded three vital actions for making disciples. First, we must Go, therefore. The word, therefore, refers to Jesus’ authority, which is the reason we must carry out His commands. While the word (πορεύω poreuō) go or as you go. As you go about your daily life, go in the authority of Jesus, and make disciples. Teach people to be both learners and followers of Jesus.

Second, Jesus tells us that the making of disciples requires baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (βαπτίζω baptizō) means to immerse, to be totally submerged. It is to be buried beneath just as Jesus was and to be raised to walk in the newness of life in Christ. It also draws our attention the life in the spirit. 2 Corinthians 13:14~May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (NIV) Baptism symbolizes burying our selfishness and sin, as well as being raised to live a new life of submission to Christ and a willingness to live God’s way. It’s also symbolic of our belief in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

Third, Jesus says, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Discipleship is more than making converts, it’s also teaching those who come to Jesus to walk out our faith through Biblical truths. The Bible is to be our litmus test and to shape our world view. This is what it means to be a disciple. The Great Commission is not a suggestion it is a requirement for those walking in the way of Christ. To do so is to engage in the promise of verse 20. Matthew 28:20~…I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. 

Are you walking with Jesus today? If you are, then you are living out the Great Commission and that means Jesus is with us every minute of every day in the person of the Holy Spirit. This is reminiscent of God’s promise to Joshua that He would never leave nor forsake him. Joshua 1:5~No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (ESV) Saints stand today in the power of our risen Savior Jesus Christ. As you go about your daily life, go in the authority of Jesus, and make disciples.



Believe

I want you to know that the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven (Matthew 28:11-15). While the women are going to tell the disciples about the Resurrection, some of the guards go and tell the priests Matthew 28:11~Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. (ESV) It appears the Jewish leaders’ worst fear has come true Matthew 27:63~and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Matthew 27:64~Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” (ESV) However, instead of considering the facts, they assemble the elders, the Sanhedrin, and agree on a plot to bribe the guards. (28:12) Matthew 28:13~saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ (ESV) 

These are apparently Roman guards, so the penalty for their failure to guard Jesus’ body will be severe. Therefore, the Sanhedrin assures the guards they will keep them out of trouble. Then, the guards take the money and do as they are told (28:14-15a). What Matthew records next he does so parenthetically Matthew 28:15b~and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (ESV) Remember that Matt wrote his gospel at least 30 years after the Resurrection of Jesus. What about you? Which story do you believe? Before answering let me remind you all the disciples, except John, died a violent death. 

Do you think even one person would die for what they know to be a lie? If you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus, then you cannot go to heaven. Paul declares you must do two things to be saved. Romans 10:9~If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NIV) Yeah, the resurrection is that important to the Christian faith. We must first, confess with our mouth “Jesus is Lord.” Then, we must believe that God raised Jesus. When we study the resurrection it reveals how Jesus loves you, and how Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Who can you think of right now that needs to hear that Jesus loves them so much that He died to take away their sin and give them a way to have eternal life in Him. Take a moment and pray, asking God for direction on how to connect with them today and encourage them to talk with Jesus.



Mercy Came Running

Though Christ Himself has foretold the disciples and His followers of the events which were to come, they have not acted as they knew, or they have forgotten what He said. Either way, walking in the words of our Lord can feel surreal sometimes until our faith catches up. Has the Lord ever told you yes on a difficult ask? Has God made you a promise and when it began to happen you were like, Lord, I don’t know what to do with this? Imagine you watched Jesus die and be buried. You waited the longest day ever to visit the grave. Then you take flowers as a symbol that He is dead. Understand, they did not think Jesus was going anywhere, because they brought grave flowers, in the form of spices. 

The angel invites the women to take a look-see and process the events that have unfolded. This is why the words of Jesus in John 14 are so vital. He says in John 14:26~But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV) I don’t know about you, but I sure do need reminding sometimes. Something to snap me back into the moment. Matthew 28:7~And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” (ESV) That’s exactly what Jesus had told them during the Last Supper Matthew 26:32~But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. (ESV) The distance from Jerusalem to Galilee is a distance of about 90 miles, so it will take at least three days for them to walk there. 

Imagine the mixing emotions of fear and great joy, compounded with a hurry. We saw Him there and just now He wasn’t there. Meeting the Lord again, if not for the first time, they see Him. (28:8-9) Matthew 28:10~Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (ESV) Notice Jesus calls His eleven disciples, brothers. Yes, one did betray Him, but all the others ran away in fear when He was arrested. Pete denied Him three times, saying I don’t know Jesus. They left their former lives to follow Christ, and now in a stunning lack of faith they don’t even go to check out the grave, only the women went.

As sorry as that sounds for the eleven remaining disciples, it’s pretty great news for us, because we all at some time, fail the Lord miserably. However, Jesus still loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. If you have, in some way failed Jesus, know that He still loves you. And that all you have to do to get back on track spiritually, is pray as David did when he failed the Lord miserably. Psalm 51:1~Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love (חֶסֶד checed); according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (ESV) No matter how you may have failed the Lord, His resurrection reveals that Jesus loves you.

Today, why not take time to worship the Lord and let Him know how truly grateful you are for His resurrection. So many worship songs are filled with the imagery of being raised to new life, of the life we are given in Jesus Christ, or the power of His presence at work in us. Let worship of the risen Lord propel you out into our world.