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PURPOSE: Daily Reading Plan #7

Reading Plan Day 7
Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The final verse of Matthew's gospel is also the final verse of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–19). Before ascending to heaven to be reunited with His Father (Acts 1:6–11), Jesus is defining their mission on earth as His representatives and under His authority as the eternal king.

He has told the disciples to "make disciples." This has been the primary outward mission of the Christian church ever since this day. Followers of Jesus are commanded to make more followers of Jesus. This means cooperatively teaching and training them in matters of faith. Written Scripture is an integral part of that process (2 Timothy 3:16), but it is not the entire process, itself. Jesus command was not to "make copies of the Bible," but to create disciples.

As the disciples committed themselves to serving Jesus, being trained by Him for this mission, new disciples of Jesus commit themselves to serving Him while being trained by those under His authority (2 Timothy 4:1–2). This is a lifetime commitment to the king of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus has identified two things expected of those who have trusted in Him and have committed to following Him as a disciple. The first is baptism by water. Jesus' ministry began with His own baptism. Baptism is meant to be a public declaration that one who believes in Jesus now belongs to Him. Jesus has commanded the disciples to baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now Jesus adds that obedience is expected of those who call themselves His disciples, as well (John 14:15). The disciples are to teach new believers in Jesus to observe everything He has commanded them to do. Obedience to all of Jesus' teaching is to become the standard practice of every Christian.

Finally, Jesus promises to be with His disciples always, until the end of the age. It will soon become clear that He does not mean this in a physical sense. He is about to ascend to heaven, in His physical form, to be at the right hand of God the Father. He will, however, be with His disciples in spirit, as the Holy Spirit comes to occupy all who trust in Christ on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

The word translated "always" in this verse comes from a special Greek phrase only used here in the New Testament: pasas tas hēmeras. It literally means "the whole of every day." This is then extended to all eternity with the expression h󠅍eōs tēs synteleias tou aiōnos: "even to the end of the age." Jesus' promise is to be with His followers—in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24) every minute of every day, until the very end of the present age, and the into eternal life beyond (John 3:16–18).

Reflection Questions


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