Matthew’s gospel comes to an end with these verses. The other gospels spend more time with Jesus and his disciples after the resurrection. Matthew skips right to the point. Jesus answers the question “how will the disciples move forward in their new reality?” We can take the message to heart as well. Our reality is also having a relationship with a resurrected Lord.
So, let’s unpack these verses a little bit to see what it tells us. First of all, the disciples obeyed. They went to the designated place in Galilee to meet up with Jesus. Think for a moment about how they must have been feeling. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! Over the last number of days (and the text doesn’t tell us for sure how many) they had experienced confusion, fear, disbelief, sorrow, hopelessness, and unspeakable joy. Can you relate to these emotions? Imagine all of them within the course of a few days!?
When the disciples saw Jesus, what did they do? They worshiped him. Well, some doubted, it says. We, too, come to Jesus with worship on our lips. But, we will have doubts at times, too. The evil one likes to put those thoughts into our head. Sometimes it works and people walk away from their faith. When doubts do creep in, talk to God. Ask him to help you through those times of wavering.
Jesus told them that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him. That’s a lot of authority. Because of this, we know Jesus’ word is reliable. Jesus’ word is true. He has all authority. All that is. There is a peace of mind that comes with trusting in a power greater than yourself.
Think about electricity. Sometimes we take it for granted. But when we need the room to be illuminated, there is comfort in knowing that with the flick of a switch there will be light. So it is with our faith. We have the assurance that Jesus is there at all times. When we call on his name, he responds. He waits for us and longs for us to be in relationship with him. Don’t take him for granted! Love him and enjoy him!
So what do we do with all of this? Jesus’ words to his disciples (and us), “Go, make disciples.” Jesus trusted them to go into the world and tell everyone about him and what he had taught them. The world is full of Christians today all because of this small group of 11 friends who took Jesus’ message to the world.
Do you suppose they were scared? Rightly so. They had just watched their Rabbi, the Son of God, be sought out and murdered. Now there was news about town that they had stolen the body to make it “look” like Jesus had risen from the dead. How else could you explain an empty tomb? I wonder what the penalty for thievery was? What is our excuse for not sharing the gospel with others? We know they did their jobs, it’s up to us to do ours.
Maybe we’re afraid of what to say or that people will judge us for our beliefs. Certainly, the world view these days seems to be on an anti-Christian slant. Yet, Christianity is still alive and well. Jesus told us exactly what to say. We share our story and teach them to obey what Jesus taught. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Jesus already did the teaching. We just need to share it. When we can share our own story about how Jesus’ has changed our lives, it is powerful. It’s stirs the emotions of all who hear our words.
Lest there be any doubt or fear remaining, we have Jesus’ promise. “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We are not alone. Jesus is right here with us. He never leaves our side. We may not see him in a physical sense, but the peace that comes from knowing he’s there will surpass all human understanding. Sometimes I just close my eyes and picture him there. His arm is around my shoulder, and as I look into his eyes I see the love and the strength I need to do what I’m called to do. How do you muster up your strength?
Let’s pray. Lord, you have given me a job to do, and I must do it. How do I know where to begin? Please show me the way. Lead my feet in the direction you want me to go. Open my eyes to the needs around me. May my ears be ready to hear the cries of the needy. Give me the courage to open my mouth and share your teachings with everyone. Prepare the hearts and minds of those who are looking for you to be ready for your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.