When we recognize Jesus’ authority and His central role in the Great Commission, the task of making disciples becomes less daunting
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)
The feast of Ascension, which we celebrated last Sundaty, is part of what we call the Paschal Mystery.
There are four interrelated parts: suffering and death; resurrection; ascension; and the sending of the Spirit.
They are closely interlocked as one reality. If we consider that the resurrection affirms the continued existence of Jesus after his crucifixion, the Ascension emphasizes that Jesus, who is alive, has now entered a state of glory, sharing the same level of honor as his Father.
The Gospel of Matthew tells us that as Jesus prepares to ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of the Father, He imparts one final command to His disciples, both present and future: the Great Commission. This command serves as the driving force behind every community of believers.
Prior to granting this authority to proclaim, Jesus convinces them of his own power and tells them that he always enjoyed such authority from his Father.
The fundamental basis for evangelism and missions in the contemporary church lies in the Great Commission.
On the basis of this authority, it becomes imperative for all Christians to spread the gospel to those around us.
It is not solely the responsibility of priests and missionaries to proclaim the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Rather, it is the duty of every Christian, regardless of age or life stage, to share their faith.
It is about developing disciples, not just gaining converts. Our task is clear. We are to share the good news with everyone, baptize believers, and teach them to follow Christ’s commands.
It implies a deeper level of commitment and engagement with the faith compared to merely gaining converts.
It involves guiding individuals on a journey of spiritual growth and helping them deepen their understanding of the principles and values of the faith they have embraced.
This process typically entails teaching, mentoring, and providing support to new believers as they strive to live out their faith in their daily lives.
At first glance, the Great Commission ignites a sense of excitement and urgency within us to share the message of Jesus with others.
However, upon closer examination, we realize the enormity of this commandment.
The task of making disciples of all nations seems overwhelming and beyond our own capabilities.
Fortunately, we have a compassionate Lord and Savior who understands the seemingly impossible task He has entrusted to us.
The fulfillment of the Great Commission hinges entirely on verse 18, for it is through Jesus that the impossible becomes possible.
He has been granted all authority in heaven and on earth. He is the source of power behind the effectiveness of the Great Commission, enabling us to make disciples. Everything we do is dependent on the authority of Jesus, and without Him, everything crumbles.
Yet, it is precisely Jesus’ authority that instills in us the confidence to embark on the journey of disciple-making.
Even before we take action, Jesus is already at work in the lives of those we seek to reach.
He prepares hearts to be receptive and removes the barriers that hinder His transformative work.
This phenomenon is occurring all around us, and all we need to do is be willing to go.
Despite witnessing Jesus’ appearances, some of His followers still harbored doubts.
They struggled to accept that the person standing before them was truly Jesus. This insight sheds light on why Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel of John, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
As believers who have chosen to have faith in Jesus without physically seeing Him, we are recipients of divine blessings.
It is important to remember that doubt is not inherently negative. God can use our doubts to draw us closer to Him, allowing us to experience a deeper dimension of faith.
When we encounter doubts about our faith or the tasks Jesus has assigned us, we should recall the promise Jesus left us in the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Our God remains by our side, regardless of circumstances. He stood with the prophets of the Old Testament in times of fear and doubt, and He continued to be present for His followers in the New Testament amidst persecution.
Our God never abandons us, even in uncertain times. His presence provides the hope we need each day.
When we recognize Jesus’ authority and His central role in the Great Commission, the task of making disciples becomes less daunting.
Without Jesus, the Great Commission would be overwhelming and seemingly endless.
However, with Jesus, it becomes a joyful purpose that brings personal and communal transformation.
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