Jesus. Changes. Everything.
His birth, life, death, and resurrection altered life for all creation. Yet, the world was content to continue in its ways, sin, and practices without Jesus.
With His arrival, Jesus shined a light on the world, exposing the emptiness of sin, but unfortunately, many preferred the shadows over the light. But for those feeling weary, broken, and drained by the same routines, Jesus provides a new life and way of living.
Today we will unpack one of Jesus’ final instructions to His followers before He returns to Heaven. In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus lays out instructions on what we are to do while we wait for His return.
Christianity is not about sitting in church weekly and being a good person.
The disciples are told to meet Jesus in Galilee on a mountain. No specific mountain in Galilee is mentioned, but the disciples knew where to go.
Many years ago, after graduating High School, a group of us would meet up regularly to play basketball at “the hideaway.” You will not find “the hideaway” on a map, in a Google search, or on Yelp. But if anyone in the group said, “Let’s meet at the hideaway at 9:00 PM,” everyone would be there.
As Jesus gathers with the disciples, He makes a transitional statement: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The self-imposed limitations on His divine power have been removed, and He has now resumed “all” authority in Heaven and on Earth. (See Philippians 2:5-10)
The word “authority” comes from the Greek “exousia,” which means executive authority and combines the two ideas of right and might.
Nothing could be more comprehensive than having all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Jesus and the Father have always been one and continue to be, but Jesus’ has resumed His divine authority.
The purpose of sharing this was to eliminate any hesitations or fears in extending forgiveness for sins. It was previously held that only God could grant forgiveness of sin. Here, Jesus is empowering us, deputizing us with His full authority to offer forgiveness to all people!
In verses 18-20, the word “all” or the variation “always” is used four times in these three verses: All authority; All nations; All I’ve commanded; Always with you. The word “all” in Greek means totality, the whole. Nothing is left out. Everything is included.
After assuring that He has all authority, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples.” The word “go” in Greek is in the present participle and understood as “while you are going.”
No matter where you are or where you’re headed, that’s where you are to make disciples.
The word “therefore” refers to the previous verse and instructs us to “go” based on Jesus having all authority.
Disciple-making is not limited to Sunday school or Sunday services, midweek Bible studies, or in a church building, but wherever you are, make disciples.
The discipleship process is critical to ensure that the seed of faith grows and believers experience God’s promises and the abundant life He gives.
Jesus doesn’t complicate the process but includes two key elements to discipleship.
#1 Water baptism.
Water baptism is a public declaration of our decision to follow Jesus anda demonstration of repentance and becoming a new person. Just as Jesus was buried and rose from the dead, water baptism symbolizes dying to self and living for Jesus.
If you’re a Christian and you’ve never been water baptized, this is God’s will for you. It won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it is an act of obedience.
#2 Teaching people to observe all that Jesus commanded.
As a Christian, you are discipled to make disciples. Therefore, no one is exempt.
- You don’t need a degree in theology or have it all figured out.
- You are not required to have ministerial credentials or be ordained.
- You don’t need to go to Seminary to be qualified to make disciples.
Jesus authorizing you, sending you, and your continued growth in the faith qualifies you to make disciples. To make disciples, we simply pass on what we have heard and learned to others.
Verse 20 informs that we are not doing this alone. Jesus is with us to the very end.
- You were born into the family you are to fulfill this Great Commission.
- You are employed at the company you are to fulfill the Great Commission.
- You live in the neighborhood you do to be salt and light and fulfill the Great Commission.
This is not the Great Suggestion but the Great Commission. This is God’s mandate for every believer.