The Great Commission
Our bird’s eye view of Matthew’s Gospel ended today after we looked at the resurrection of Jesus and the Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28.
Kimberley noticed that women were the first to learn about Jesus’ resurrection. William said that women at this time could not give evidence in a law court. It adds to the authenticity of the resurrection accounts because, in those day, if you wanted to prove something, you would not use women as witness but men; and yet, Matthew tells us that women were the first to witness the great event! Barbara added that it was important that these women saw the empty tomb because they were there when Jesus’ body had been buried so there was no chance of them going to the wrong grave. William pointed out that no one actually saw Jesus rise from the dead. Rob said that this confirms that it’s through faith that we know Jesus rose, not by sight.
William posed another one of his thought provoking questions - Why does the resurrection of Jesus matter?
· Helen said that Christians are offered the same experience; Jesus’ resurrection is the key to our eternal life with God.
· Rob shared that it sets Jesus apart from all the other prophets.
· William put it like this - Jesus is the heart of the good news, if he were to be dead, would he still be this? It would be a historical faith and not a living one. Because Jesus is risen his power and presence are here with us now.
· Barbara added that Jesus conquered death. He is all powerful, almighty and reigns supreme.
William walked past Helen and Rob’s garden earlier in the day and saw again the Easter scene of an empty tomb and an empty cross. Helen made it a cross and not a crucifix to emphasis that Jesus did not stay dead, but he rose.
The Great Commission of Jesus happened on a mountain just like other key events in the gospel. Jesus gave his great sermon on the mount; his transfiguration was on top of a hill and his crucifixion was on a hill outside Jerusalem. This gives a visual and dramatic aspect to the accounts.
Jesus went before the disciples to Galilee, where they met him and worshipped him. William said this was a lovely picture of Jesus going ahead of us, calling us to follow. Rob added that we follow Jesus as his disciples.
There is only one command in Jesus’ commission (in the Greek) which is ‘make disciples’ (baptising and teaching are participles.) All the disciples were given power to do this and it is still the commission of Christians today – to make disciples for Jesus. Sharing our faith in Jesus is not just for the special few but for all Christians. Rob compared this to when we go to a baptism, where we welcome people into the family of God.
We counted the number of “alls” or similar in the commission:
*all the disciples were commissioned;
*all nations and people were to be included;
*all authority was given to the disciples to do this
*all that Jesus taught them had to be shared
*always I am with you, Jesus said.
In first chapter of Mathew we read about Jesus ….”his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us) and in the last chapter of Matthew we read that Jesus said, “I am with you always to the close of the age.” How wonderful.