Theme of the Week: Why Easter Changes Everything
Bible Verse: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18 ESV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Daniel 7:13-14
Jesus’s final words at the end of Matthew’s Gospel are known as the “Great Commission.” This Great Commission is stunning for at least two reasons. First, it brings “the whole Gospel to a dynamic conclusion, which is in fact more a beginning than an end.” It is a “beginning” because it records Jesus’s commission of his disciples to continue the mission of God.
As the Father sent Jesus, now Jesus is sending his disciples (John 20:21). Second, this commission finds its basis in the resurrection of Jesus. This is clear from the way Matthew reports it immediately after finishing his report of Jesus’s resurrection. A closer look shows that the authority for this commission is linked to the resurrection. The resurrection has changed something regarding the authority of Jesus. The key is the little word all—a word Jesus keeps repeating in his commission. Because of his death and resurrection, he now has “all authority.” As D. A. Carson observes, “the spheres in which he now exercises absolute authority are enlarged to include all heaven and earth.” This is an enormous result of the death and resurrection of Christ!
When we, as Jesus’s followers, go to “make disciples of all nations”—the main command in Jesus’s commission—by leading them to Christ (signified by “baptizing”) and building them up in Christ (signified by “teaching them to observe” what Jesus taught), we do so with the full authority of Christ behind us!
This gives me a great sense of urgency and encouragement to continue the mission of Jesus.
God did not place me on earth simply to have a family, enjoy a few hobbies, and work at a career. He has sent me here on a mission. Whether my vocation is in law enforcement, dentistry, accounting, or retail sales, my mission is to produce followers of Jesus Christ.
Even my hobbies and relationships and life experiences are a means to this end. When people resist my pursuit of this mission and call me narrow-minded or fanatical, I keep on track by remembering that I am authorized to carry out the mission. The authority resides with the resurrected Lord, Jesus the Messiah.
Some content taken from Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything. Copyright © 2013 by Steven D. Mathewson. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
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