Today's devotion from Matthew 28. Matthew's Gospel ends with the 11 remaining disciples making the trip to Galilee to meet Jesus. In His presence there were two responses: worship and doubt. I don't really understand the reason for the doubt, but I think we have a clue in the next verse that helps shed some light on this encounter through what is known as the Great Commission.
When Jesus is commissioning His followers, we get hung up on His imperative command to go. Scholars debate the nature of this word and as to if it means "to go explicitly for the purpose of evangelizing" or to evangelize "as you are going." We discuss the nature of making disciples. What does it mean to disciple others. How do you measure successful discipleship? Is discipleship a program? Is Jesus saying every believer is to attempt to reach every nation? Is this more of a mandate for the church to disperse?
We excel at convoluting Jesus' words.
I would like to ask you to take a step back and read again. Look again at the Great Commission. How would these words address our initial question about worship and doubt? Jesus' words offer both the reason for worship and the resolution of doubts.
The Great Commission doesn't begin with the command to go, but with the basis from which the command is given, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18, CSB) He is worthy of worship and adoration because He is all-powerful and authoritative. It is because of this revelation (or is it a reminder?) they are to obey. "Therefore" is the connection between the imperative command and the One with the power to give the command.
However, the Great Commission doesn't just end with a command. Jesus alleviates all doubt in His being the same Jesus who lived and laughed with these disciples, as well as any doubt that they might fail in the task, by offering these simple words, "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20, CSB) This same Jesus would continue to walk with them. He would encourage, equip, and empower them to accomplish this unbelievable task.
We are still striving to achieve this task, but as we do, He still has the authority and He is still with us.