A good brother of mine recently spoke on the familiar Matthew 28:18-20 passage, the “Great Commission” spoken to us by Jesus after his resurrection. He brought to light new insights that I found refreshing and encouraging.
First, it was set in the time and construct of the Torah – the strict religious Jewish system of rules and regulations setting forth ways for holy living with the goal of getting to heaven.
Instead of this system Jesus was saying for all to: “go and make disciples”. He was telling people to go and teach and make followers of “me”. It was not reserved for the religious establishment to spread the faith, anyone could do it. And it was not to follow rules but follow a person, obey a person, Jesus.
It was for all to share with all. And it was not about a system to follow, set of rules, or specific forms to fit into. It was simply for people to pass on to people to follow Jesus. It was relational in how it was to spread, and it was about a man who was God in the flesh for us.
Secondly, authority was given in those days. It was handed down from one authority to another. Jesus begins with: “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me”. It was from God, not any man. He didn’t sit under any rabbi who declared his authority. During his whole life he declared he was sent by the Father. And his resurrection proved it. And now he was commanding us to pass him on to others. Commissioning us, giving us authority to partner with him.
So he was a man, but also other worldly, God. Proven in his death and resurrection, and radical in his teaching.
This sets our faith on a relational foundation and trajectory. That we are authorized by the top authority to share the story with others. A story about a man who was God and is alive today. A man who forgives and blesses and paid our debt and empowers us to simply follow him, a person, and to share his story with the world so they can know and follow him too.