15 June 2014

Matthew 28:16-20

"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." (vv. 19-20)


Today's passage takes us to a transitional place, where heaven and earth meet. The risen Jesus, embodying all authority on heaven and on earth, met the disciples on the mountain top. Earlier in this chapter the women were greeted by the risen Jesus as they left the empty tomb (Matthew 28:9). Jesus sent them to tell the other disciples to go to Galilee where they would see him (Matthew 28:10). The meeting on the mountain reminds us of other mountains where people found themselves in the presence of God: Moses met with God at the burning bush on Mount Horeb and was sent to free the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3:1-12); Elijah found himself in the presence of God on Mount Sinai and was sent from there to :anoint kings and his own successor (1 Kings 19:11-18); Peter, James and John had seen Jesus transfigured on a mountain, a foretaste of the resurrection appearances, and had been urged by God to listen to him (Matthew 17:1-5).

As the disciples met with the risen Christ, they worshipped and some doubted. Even in the midst of worship, there is room for doubt. The commission that followed was for all of them, including the questioners and doubters. The disciples were sent to make disciples and to teach. There is nothing exclusive about this gospel, they were sent to all nations because the good news is for everyone.

This is the only place in the New Testament where the triune name (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) occurs in connection with Baptism. Elsewhere Baptism is in the name of Jesus or in the name of Christ. Here it is clear that those who are baptized enter into a relationship with God whose being is eternally in relationship and who is encountered as Parent, Son and Spirit. It is a great mystery, but the Christian belief in the Trinity is grounded in our experience of, and relationship with, the triune God.

To Ponder

  • Where or when have you been very conscious of the presence of God?
  • What questions do you want to ask God?
  • Who might feel excluded from the Christian message today? Think of one thing you might do to reach out to them.

Bible notes author

The Revd Ruth Gee

Ruth is the President of the Methodist Conference, as well as being chair of the Darlington District. She is excited and fascinated by theology and loves to share that enthusiasm with others.