TODAY’S READING: Matthew 28; Mark 16
All authority (Matt. 28:18). Jesus the King, the crucified Messiah was proved to be God by His resurrection from the dead. He has been given all authority in heaven and earth. He has forcibly taken the keys of death and hell. There is no earthly authority that trumps Jesus, no law that countermands His, no command that supersedes His orders. Because of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, Jesus can tell anyone to do anything and He has the absolute pure moral authority to do so. And so He does. He orders us to….
Go into all the world, to all the nations (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19). The universal authority of Jesus that will be applied universally when He comes back forcibly in power and glory is to be announced globally in every corner of the world, to every unreached people. One day the authoritative King will force worship and obedience, whether from heaven or hell, but He mercifully extends a period of grace for all peoples of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation to choose that their eternal worship ascends in joy from heaven, not in pain from hell. King Jesus, the resurrected Lord, orders us to go, to diligently ensure that not only every place, but also every ethnic people, has opportunity to choose to bow. A focus on unreached peoples is not something sociologists made up; it is the passion of the Savior from the creation of language and culture (Genesis 10–11) that every tongue of every people worships Him forever.
Make disciples; preach the gospel to every creature; and teach all things that I have commanded (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:20). Jesus did not tell us to dig wells, build schools, establish hospitals, change government policies, provide shoes and shelter, or start orphanages as our priority assignment. We can certainly do all those things if, and only if, they empower our clear orders: make disciples by preaching, teaching, and baptizing. We know from the clarity above that disciple making is to be done among all peoples. The mandate is very clear to the people of God, and we are to have a collective single eye: make disciples among every unreached people through preaching, baptizing and teaching all things that Jesus has commanded. Whatever platform, mechanism, delivery system that aids that obedience is blessed. Whatever service that slows making disciples among all peoples is to be discarded.
I am with you always (Matt. 28:20). At the end of his life, David Livingstone told a group of university students that it was this promise that sustained him through the years and toil of his exiled life in Africa. Livingstone called it “the promise of a gentleman.” When he died, he was found kneeling at his cot in his tent with his Bible open to Matthew 28:20 with his scrawling notation, the promise of a gentleman. Indeed, all authority has been given to Jesus, so that we may go into all the world to make disciples of all the people groups teaching them all that Jesus commanded, for truly He is with us always in all ways.