7 April 2021Matthew 28:16-20
'And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.' (v. 20)
Matthew’s Gospel concludes with Jesus giving authority to his 11 disciples to baptise, teach and make disciples of all nations. This is a transition moment, when the earthly, risen Christ is entrusting his ongoing work to his disciples. For the past three years they have left their nets, observed, followed, been challenged and changed, and now they are commissioned. And yet there continues to be a very honest narrative here: that while they worshipped, ‘’some also doubted’’ (Matthew 28:17).
Perhaps that is why the final words of Christ speak of his continuing presence, ‘’And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’’ (Matthew 28:20) As with Abraham in the book of Genesis, the disciples are invited to begin a journey of faith which will have great unknowns, but also great promises.
Believe it or not, but Ministerial Synod can have wonderful moments of illumination. The custom is that each minister seeking to retire is given five minutes to reflect upon their ministry. It is when people talk about the stuff that really matters. Several years ago a white-haired minister, small in frame, spoke in a clear, quiet voice about his years as a prison chaplain.
He said that in the middle of riots, he and his colleagues stood in the middle and said, “That’s enough now lads, go back to your rooms,” and they did. He recalled sharing communion with a deeply disturbed prisoner in a top security jail, when he had to be accompanied by four officers in protective uniform.
He concluded his five minutes, which summarised 35 years, with this, “Throughout my ministry I have sensed that Christ has been with me and I am still convinced that Christ has the power to change broken lives. I have seen it many times. It is simply the gospel of good news for our world.”
His testimony seemed to support the words in Matthew’s Gospel, ‘’I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- How do you respond to Mathew’s statement that ‘’Some of the disciples doubted’’?
- If you were to summarise your faith journey in five minutes what would you say?
- Are there some hymns and worship songs that help you to experience Christ’s promise: "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”?