16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Great Commission
Unlike some of the writing in the Bible which reaches a peak in the middle, Matthew peaks at the end. That is a structure or a build that we are quite used to in a narrative. With that being the case, it might behoove us to get a feel for the book by looking at its conclusion. Disciples of Jesus fall into two categories, true disciples of faith and false disciples of doubt. Is it an automatic failure if you have a doubt? No, in some ways faith continues to believe in times of doubt. Some would then say, like Bono, that faith needs a doubt. The doubt is over a specific issue. I would argue that Matthew argues Jesus’ identity and authority, most gloriously revealed in the resurrection. So at this point, some of Jesus’ followers just can’t believe their eyes. To those who accept that Jesus is who he says he is (Anointed One, King, and Lord) Jesus gives an assignment or commission. The goal of the book in some ways is to sell us on Jesus’ authority so that we accept his commission.
We will then go and make disciples by reaching them and teaching them. What do we do with them? We convince them that Jesus has done the things in this book and that he is alive. We then submit that they align their lives with his commission and so it spreads. Is Jesus authoritative in your life? Has anyone else heard from you the story? Are you teaching any one?
- What is Jesus’ commission based upon?
- To whom is the commission addressed?
- What are the recipients of the commission to do?
- How is this passage important as part of an introduction?
- Who or what is the authority that people see behind your life?