Jesus drew near and said to them, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.’ (verses 18-20)
Read Matthew 28:11–20
Jesus’ command to his followers to go to all peoples everywhere and make them his disciples could never have been carried out except for two things: the authority of Jesus and the promise of his presence with his disciples to the end of the age. The disciples were only a small band, and some were still doubters. But the authority and presence of Jesus changed all that. In his name, and with his authority and presence, they began a movement that has spread to all countries of the world and embraces millions of people. And it hasn’t stopped. People all over the world are still becoming disciples of Jesus today.
The authority of Jesus, which sends out Christians to make disciples of people everywhere and the promise of his never-failing presence are at the heart of the work of the Christian church today. Here, in one sentence is the church’s mission statement. Here is the church’s reason for being. As Christians we have no choice but to carry out Jesus’ mission command.
But we don’t go out on our own authority but on Jesus’ authority. And as we work for him, we go with the promise of his never-failing presence with us. Whoever you are and whatever you do as a Christian, you have the unfailing promise of Jesus, ‘I will be with you always, to the end of the age’.
Lord Jesus, assure me of your presence, and help me to tell others everywhere about your great love. Amen.
by Kevin Schmidt, in ‘Refreshment for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2003)
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