Read Matthew 28
Jesus Has Risen
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Guards’ Report
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
One could argue that Matthew 28 is the most important chapter in the book of Matthew. Jesus is raised from the dead, which is vital to our faith in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:14), and appears to Mary and Mary Magdalene. Next, the chief priests attempt a plan to skew the news of Jesus, and Jesus gives His great commission to the disciples.
Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (v. 18). Jesus builds His credibility for the task He is about to commission His disciples with in this one sentence. Jesus has authority over everything. Therefore, what He is about to tell His disciples is of utmost importance. This is the most important thing He wants to leave them (and in turn, us) with before He ascends into heaven.
Next, Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (v. 19). Jesus’s departing message to His disciples, and to us as His disciples, is to go and make disciples of all nations! There are a couple of things we should extract from this message. First, Jesus says “go” because He wants us to be intentional about where and how we make disciples. As we “go” intentionally in the city we live, we should also be willing to go anywhere else in the world to spread the gospel! Second, Jesus tasks his disciples with making other disciples. This is why we are here on earth–to make disciples! We are not tasked with just making converts, but rather making disciples who make disciples who make more disciples. Lastly, Jesus brings to focus the end at which we should make disciples: “all nations.” The word for nations here is “ethnos,” so instead of thinking of geopolitical entities, think of ethnolinguistic groups, cultures, and/or people groups. Our making of disciples should create a ripple effect throughout the entire world because we are commissioned to make disciples of every nation, tribe, tongue, and language (Revelation 7:9)!
Finally, Jesus concludes by saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (v. 20). This promise of Jesus is that He will always be by our side. Acts 1:8 says that we will receive power when Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the gospel from our neighborhoods to the nations. This should bring great comfort and confidence to our hearts to carry out His task no matter the cost here and to the ends of the earth!
- Are you being intentional with the “where” and “how” about your going? Have you ever asked God to speak into the “where” and “how” of your life of being a disciple-maker?
- How are you making disciples today? In what ways have you shared your faith recently to your neighbor, coworker, or lost friend/family member?
- Have you ever considered that one reason we make disciples here is so that, eventually, all the nations would be reached with the gospel? How does that change your perspective on going and sharing your faith from your neighborhood to the nations?
Did You Know?
There are currently over 3 billion people in our world today who are unreached by the gospel. This means that these people will likely live their entire lives without ever hearing the good news about Jesus. They don’t believe, not because they don’t care, but because they are never given the opportunity to believe. According to Joshua Project, there are over 17,000 unique people groups, or nations, in the world with over 7,000 of them considered unreached (over 40% of the world’s population!). Watch this 4-minute video to learn more: Reaching the Unreached.
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