Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Yesterday morning in worship we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus. That moment represents the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. While told slightly differently in each gospel, Jesus moves from baptism to wilderness preparation to going public with his teaching, his healing, and his challenging work.

This morning we hear his last words from Matthew’s gospel. These last marching orders are no less surprising than seeing Jesus climb down into the same muddy water of baptism that he would invite his future disciples into.

At this point, the ministry of Jesus isn’t all that impressive. He started with twelve key insiders and ended up with eleven. Even among those, gathered together again in Galilee, some still doubt. But that doesn’t stop Jesus. He has a job for them, even for those who doubt.

His charge is framed by two promises. Jesus himself will retain all authority – he is clearly the leader, the boss, the authority. Anything the disciples might do will always point back to Jesus. And Jesus promises to be with them, to the end of the age.

Jesus isn’t going to be some desk jockey boss without any of his own skin in the game. He isn’t going to sit in a cushy central office chair while everyone else does all the work. He will be with them. But he can’t do what only they can do.

Only they can tell the story. Only they can bear witness to what they have seen and heard. Only they can invite others to come and follow them as they together follow Jesus. That’s his plan. That’s his only plan. And that has always been his plan.

Now we are those disciples. The baton of the faith has been passed on down to us. We were baptized into this mission of baptizing, teaching, and making disciples. Jesus is still the boss, and his promise to be with us holds, but only we can do what we can do.

Now stop reading and look up from your screen. Look around you. Notice where you are.

The mission of those first disciples began on a mountain top. Your mission begins anew right where you are now. Let’s do the best we can.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you have entrusted the treasure of telling the story of your love, your presence, and your will to fickle doubters like us. We don’t know if we are up to the task but we trust that you will give us whatever we need to do whatever it is that you want us to do. Take our hearts, inspire our willingness, and give us the courage to care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.



One Response to “Matthew 28:16-20”

  1. W Says:

    I have work to do – needed the reminder I can, through Him who sends me.

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