Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus left his disciples, including us, with a truth, a mission and a promise. These final verses of Matthew’s Gospel record some of Jesus’ last words before He ascended into heaven. They are also some of his most important. The truth Jesus declared has to do with his Lordship over our lives and over the whole world. He said that all authority has been given to him. Given, of course, by God, meaning that Jesus, who died and rose again as our Savior, must also be our Lord, honored and obeyed above all other rulers or powers in this world. In fact, Jesus’ authority extends beyond this world to heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand exercising authority over all. When we acknowledge Jesus’ authority, we are confessing that all He says is true and meaningful in our lives. His is the first and best voice that we listen to. His teaching, as recorded in scripture and brought to understanding in our hearts by his Spirit, supersedes and surpasses all earthly knowledge and wisdom. All authority belongs to Jesus, and we submit ourselves fully and joyfully to him.
Jesus also gave us a mission. This passage is often referred to as the Great Commission, the church’s marching orders for ministry and evangelism. We are to make disciples everywhere we go, in all nations, from all parts of this world, of all people. This is the wonderful truth of salvation, that Jesus offers new life to everyone who will submit themselves in faith to him. Jesus asks us, despite our weaknesses, to carry on the work He started. Each of us, gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit, has a role to play in inviting others to receive God’s grace through Jesus our Savior.
Finally, Jesus spoke a word of promise over us. He assured us that He will be with us always and forever. For his first disciples, these words must have been comforting and yet a bit confusing. Soon after Jesus said this, He was lifted from the earth into heaven before their very eyes. They must have wondered how He could still be with them as He disappeared into the clouds. Soon they understood, as the Holy Spirit descended upon them, filling each believer with the living, powerful presence of God. The Risen Savior is with us still – today, right now, where you are and where I am. Praise be to God!
Father, You are mighty and merciful. Thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior, and thank You for the promise that Your Spirit lives in me today. Help me to submit myself to Jesus’ teaching, to share His message with others, and to trust in His wonderful promises. Amen.Thank you for reading these Easter devotions. I hope God’s word has touched your heart. I plan to write more devotions later in the Spring. Pastor Mike
Pastor Mike Mirakian