My Daily Journal:
“And they lived happily ever after. The End.” Lot’s of great stories and tales end with those words. But not this one.
Matthew kept things very simple and faithful. Keep in mind, he was primarily speaking to an audience of Israelites, the descendents of Abraham, who had been marinating in the words and activities of the Law and the Prophets for centuries. But, Jesus’ resurrection changes everything!
It doesn’t invalidate all of what they have known and practiced, it fulfills it. They have been on a journey to the promised land their entire existence and the resurrection parted the river to give them (and us) entry. Not a promise that is tied to a piece of land, but a promise that is tied to eternal life. But there is work to be done.
So, then, once someone commits their life to Christ, once they are saved from the penalty of sin=death, why don’t they just immediately go to heaven? Think about it for a second, if our life is about us and our own salvation and eternity, then, why doesn’t it end and we go to heaven the moment when we believe?
The answer is that our life is NOT about us and our own salvation. Our life is about Jesus and His glory. Matthew, quoting Jesus, is brief but clear about what we are supposed to be doing.
1. ALL authority belongs to Jesus. Heaven and Earth. ALL. There is no one to appeal to. There is no second choice. He is simply in charge. Period. He commands, we follow.
2. Go. It doesn’t say plan to go, or think about going. It also doesn’t say when you go to another country. It simply says “go”. We all “go” every day.
3. Make Disciples. Not just converts, but disciples. Jesus’ disciples where those who followed him and continued to learn and grow and understand and praise Him.
4. Of all nations. Not just some, not ones that look and think like me, but all nations, all people.
5. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cleanse them of their sins and burdens, their iniquities are forgiven through the Trinity (not just one part, but all 3, equal, God).
6. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Engaging and teaching in word, in action, in daily life, is a critical component of the commission. “Everything” is emphasized as well. We aren’t just to teach the easy stuff, the non-confrontational stuff – but everything Jesus has commanded. Don’t dumb it down or water it down, just teach what it says.
7. I am with you always.
There can sometimes be a tension in Christianity about “works.” Do we do works to earn something? Are we required to do certain works or obligations? But it does not need to be so complicated. If you love someone and they have authority – you obey. It is that simple. In these last verses of Matthew we are given our marching orders – we must obey them.
So let me close our study of the book of Matthew by asking these application questions:
1. Where are you going today and what are you going to make there? You are probably going somewhere today, the question is what are you going to make there? (right answer: disciples)
2. What if instead of just going to church we actually became the church and took it with us everywhere we went?
3. What is holding you back from obeying the one with ALL authority? Is it fear? Lack of knowledge? Power? Do you feel uncomfortable? Shy? Self-Doubting? Are you ashamed of the gospel? Whatever it is, that is holding you back – He is with you and He can handle it because He is God. Feel the fire burning in your heart and let It shine!
4. How is your life, your daily walk, the things you do, think, and say, the decisions you make and where you spend your time – how are those things teaching others about being obedient to all that Jesus has commanded you?
So, let’s not complicate it – it really is simple:
Go, Make, Teach, Obey, and be with the One who loves you and will be with you always, no matter what, to the very end of the age.
The right and power to give commands and require obedience
Go and make disciples – I will be with you
All: All authority, all nations, Father/Son/Holy Spirit, obey everything, with you always (to the very end of the age)
baptize them and teach them to obey everything He has commanded
teaching the truth of His word. Modeling
He has the right and power, both heaven and earth – he will be with me always
Rom: even while sinners he died to reconcile me to him – saved now through his life
2Cor: give over to death of myself to allow His life to work through me
Gal: I no longer live, Christ lives in me – he gave himself for me
Phil: I want to know Christ, power of resurrection, participate in suffering, become like him in his death
Col: Set my focus on things above. I died and now my life is hidden in Christ-I will appear again w/him