WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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CALLED TO MAKE DISCIPLES
(Disciples must make and teach disciples)
Here we come to the end of Matthew’s account of JESUS’ thirty-three year mission as a “sacrificial human being” here on earth. Before ascending into Heaven however, there would be a final and critically important meeting between JESUS and HIS remaining, eleven closest disciples. Over the years the message of this gathering has come to be known as “the Great Commission” by the “Church Age” followers of CHRIST.
In verses 16-20 of Matthew’s Gospel account we find JESUS’ disciples leaving Galilee and going up into the mountain where JESUS had earlier instructed them to go. When saw JESUS on the mountain they began to worship HIM, even though some of them still, even at that time, doubted HIM.
Nevertheless JESUS began to speak, first, assuring them of HIS power and deity-like authority, telling them, “I have been given complete authority in Heaven and on earth” (NLT). Here in this statement we see JESUS claiming authority in Heaven (a shared authority with GOD the FATHER) for the first time. Up unto this point HE had only claimed authority over all the earth. However, now, HE had completed the task assigned to HIM by HIS FATHER GOD, and as HIS reward, GOD had given HIM power over all creation, and, indeed, over the entire universe. And HE would soon be seated on HIS throne in Heaven, at the right hand of HIS FATHER.
Secondly, JESUS gives HIS men a commission; “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the FATHER and the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT. Teach these new principles to obey all the commands I have given you” (NLT). JESUS sends all who pledge themselves to HIM, out to the nations of the world, armed only with the Good News of the Gospel. HE taught us with HIS own life, that, a man (100% human), born of woman, can live and overcome all of the pressures of satan and his world, and be resurrected into a new life, not just in Heaven, but right now, here on earth. And we as disciples can also teach others to do the same.
In the Greek the word used for “promise” is “eppagelleia” (ep-ang-ge-lee-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”. Finally in verse 20b, JESUS leaves HIS disciples with a “promise”. It is a promise, not only to HIS original disciples, but also, it is a promise of assurance to all who will accept the responsibility of being one of HIS disciples, for all time.
Here JESUS tells HIS faithful followers this; “And be sure of this: I AM with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT). As Christians, we are sent out to perform the greatest task that one can ever be given in this world. It is a great privilege, and perhaps even a greater responsibility. And it is for that reason that JESUS needs to encourage us by letting us know that we are not alone in our quest, but rather, HE HIMSELF will be with us, even unto the end of the age.
And even though JESUS would no longer remain with HIS disciples physically, HIS spiritual presence is with anyone who earnestly chooses to follow HIS lighted path through the trials, tribulations, and gravitational pull of this dark world. HIS “spiritual presence” will accompany us until our assigned tasks on this earth as disciples, is finished.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website