Matthewby Mike Raiter
This is the dramatic conclusion of Matthew's gospel, and the final words of the risen Christ. I love to read missionary biographies, the encouraging and challenging stories of men and women who have obediently gone out to make disciples of all nations. In missionary writings over the past 200 years, no Scripture is quoted more often, or has been more influential, than Matthew 28:18-20.
The Extreme Claim: All Authority (v. 18). Many people object to evangelising, saying that we have no right to invite others to change their religion. Jesus, however, has the right, because He has all authority. He has authority over every moment of every day, and over every creature in heaven and on earth, and over every single man, woman, and child. Since He exercises all authority, He has the right to be worshipped and obeyed by every single person.
The Extreme Command: All Nations (v. 19). Jesus' great command highlights four activities we should be involved in: going, making, baptising, and teaching. There is just one command: ″make disciples″. The rest of the verse explains the where and the how of disciple-making. As we go out into the world, whether near or far, we are to evangelise to people and teach them to become mature disciples.
The Extreme Comfort: Always (v. 20). Matthew's gospel closes with words similar to those with which it opened: ″‘and they will call him Immanuel' (which means ‘God with us')″ (Matthew 1:23). Here, this Immanuel promises to be true to His name and be with us until the end of the age. The underlying assumption behind His word of comfort is that it will be impossible to fulfil this command without Him. As the Lord was with Peter, James and John, Paul and Barnabas, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and many others, so He will be with us as we continue to make disciples, until the end of the age.
No one can say, ″The Lord hasn't called me″. Today we have heard the Lord's command. Some will leave the comforts of home and go where Christ is not known. Most of us will make disciples where we live. But having heard the good news of Jesus, we must now make Him known to the world.
How would you define ″disciple-making″?
What is your church doing right now to obey Jesus' command? Is there room for improvement?