Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of God the Father and the Holy Spirit has come upon and in the disciples! We go back to before those events now, to Matthew 28, to see the prelude for the next consequence of this series.
Matthew 28:18-20 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
What will the disciples do now that Jesus has gone and the Spirit has come? 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 28v18)! 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.
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.
For The Church Today
Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples are to tell others of the goodness of God and what Jesus has done for them. Indeed God Himself is a missionary God. Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to Himself. That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God! That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted Himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ. Jesus whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God. As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christian Disciples are to showing and tell others of God’s message of reconciliation to all people of all time. It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5:12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because He loved us first. We are not all called to be evangelists but we are all called to make disciples of Jesus Christ! Making disciples is not just evangelism but ensuring that guidance and care is given to new disciples of Jesus Christ. How is this achieved? How can the Christian Disciple exhibit Jesus’ authority and power in evangelism? Who gives the impetus for Christian Disciples? That is part of the role of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would come once He had ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. After all, as a Christian, you also have the same Holy Spirit within you as Jesus’ disciples did! WOW! Lets go make disciples to the praise of God the Father, with the authority of Jesus the Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Our consequence tomorrow will be about the message we are to go with!