Investigating Jesus Part 43
Jesus' Final Words
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (New Living Translation)
Jesus’ resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Jesus’ mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly he will be returning to the right hand of the Father. Before he does so though, he has some more words to say to his disciples.
Jesus has been raised from the dead. What happened next? In Matthew 28, Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of God the Father and the Holy Spirit has come upon and in the disciples. Before he left, he issued this commandment to his disciples. What will the disciples do now that Jesus has gone? They will do as Jesus commanded – go and tell the world about this Jesus and teach them to be his disciples. One of the major themes of Matthew’s Gospel is the authority of Jesus. Matthew highlights Jesus’ authority in action and not just merely in words.
For example, Matthew records Jesus’ authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and Jesus imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has all the authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has authority over all things and all people. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons, as well as over all nations, governments, rulers, and over all earthly and spiritual authorities. One of the consequences of Easter is that Jesus’ authority is passed to his disciples. The disciples could be obedient to God without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm them, regardless of the circumstances they would find themselves in. That is why they were so bold and why the church spread quickly. That was the work of the Holy Spirit who changed them from living in fear to living out their faith boldly. They had great confidence in their God, knowing that through his death and resurrection, Jesus had conquered all enemies.
Therefore, as Christian Disciples, we can obey Him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us. We can obey Him regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is a great comfort to know, that he is in control of everything. Through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies. People often confuse authority with authoritarian. Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator.
None of these applies to Jesus. We have been given a free will, but as his Disciples, we should choose to exercise our free will to obey Him and live a life worthy of Him. As the Christian depends on Jesus’ authority, the Christian Disciple gains wisdom, guidance, and power. As we receive His love and grace, we are to show His love and grace to others.
If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the Disciples would not have had a story to tell. But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve Disciples exercised Jesus’ authority and his power.
We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts in the Bible. Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples – all followers of Jesus - are to tell others of the goodness of God.
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