Wednesday

“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.” (vv. 18-19)

Matthew 28:16-20 Wednesday 25 May 2016

Psalm: Psalm 93


Background

This passage in Matthew's Gospel is often referred to as theGreat Commission. This was often the passage that was used whenmissionaries were sent abroad - it is still used in that wayalthough with far less frequency.

The major focus of the passage is on Jesus' words, "allauthority has been given to me". God authorised Jesus, thereforeJesus spoke with God's authority, and as Jesus is 'authorised' sohe 'authorises others'. God's mission is revealed through Jesus sothat it may be continued down the ages and across the world.

This is not 'authority' in the sense of 'power' - the sort ofauthority that Jesus was tempted with in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), this is authority to act onbehalf of God in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

The disciples are sent to teach what Jesus had taught them andwhat they had learnt from how he conducted his mission in love andcompassion. They are to teach about God's will and how to live inaccordance with it. They are sent to develop the righteousness inothers which characterises the kingdom of heaven.

In short this passage sets out the Church's agenda.


To Ponder

  • This passage has been associated with the sending of Christianmissionaries to other countries - how do you see it as applying toyou in your current setting?
  • Jesus' contemporaries spoke of him as one having natural'authority' but he was not authoritarian in how he dealt witheither his disciples or those who came to him for help. Howmight wedevelop in a way which people acknowledge as authentic and 'withauthority', without falling into the trap of using authority aspower over people?
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