Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me … And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
True to form, when Jesus gave us The Great Commission he also gave us The Great Promise. True to form, because Jesus never commands us to do anything that:
- he hasn’t first done himself, and
- he will not enable us to do by his Spirit and grace. He’s that kind of God!
I love that quote from John Bunyan, the author of the Christian classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress:
“Run, John, run, the law commands, but neither gives us feet nor hands. Far better news the gospel brings: it bids us fly and gives us wings.”
So, when Jesus commanded us to make disciples, it means that:
- he has already been in the business of making disciples, and
- he will help us to make disciples too.
What is The Great Promise?
Jesus sandwiches the Great Commission between two parts of The Great Promise. One part is, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This is not fake news! Paul, the apostle, tells the churches in Ephesus and Colossi that, Jesus by his death on the cross and his resurrection, has disarmed all the opposing principalities, powers, dominions and authorities and placed them under his feet! (See Eph 1:20-22; Col 2:13-15). Jesus is THE most powerful person on the earth, not President Trump. He is THE most powerful person in the heavens, not Satan. Let Holy Spirit take this deep into our core.
The second part is equally profound: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.“ This is glorious news especially for those who need to be reminded of this, like our colleague, Andrew Brunson, who is in a Turkish prison unrighteously detained. Or anyone of the nameless, faceless persecuted church across the globe suffering because of the Name. Or anyone afraid to share their faith. The Great Promise does not mean that our lives will be pain free. The war has been won on the Cross; the battle continues. (See Eph 6:12).
Needed: a few good men & women… of faith
There is a fascinating statement recorded before Jesus commissioned his Church to make disciples. “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” – Matthew 28:17. It is possible to stand in the presence of the Resurrected Christ and still not believe. That is NOT what we need in this hour.
I am calling for men and women who believe, and not doubt, the Great Promise in order that we will give ourselves to the Great Commission.
Would you pray and ask God to give you someone to disciple – your child, colleague, friend, neighbour …
(See part one on my discipleship series to know what I mean by “disciple”.)