Today’s meeting with Jesus took place on a mountainside in Galilee. I had always associated this scene with the ascension, but it is a separate incident. Jesus did give the ‘Great Commission’ at His ascension but he also gave it here sometime before the ascension.
Matthew 28:16-20 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There were 11 disciples because Judas had betrayed Jesus and hanged himself. However, there were probably others along with them as in verse 10 earlier in the chapter Jesus had said to the women at the tomb garden, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Scholars think that the people Matthew is referring to as ‘doubting’ are the other brothers who also accompanied the 11 to the mountainside and does not refer to the disciples. The heart of Jesus’ message is He wants the message of salvation and redemption to go out to all the world. It is their job to spread the ‘good news’ to the world. He promises to go with them (and us) throughout all the ages to come.
Have you ever considered that you are God’s plan A? There is no backup plan for spreading the news of redemption to the world- we are it! God promises that His word will not return empty or without use, Isaiah 55:11 “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God also promises that His will cannot be thwarted, Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Jesus did His part- He came to earth, lived, died on the cross to redeem us and rose from the grave conquering sin and death. We have our part to do now- tell others about marvelous, amazing, redemptive Jesus! Since you are part of plan A, whom will you tell today? Remember there are many ways to tell others about Jesus. Yes, you need to be able to give a full account of the gospel which according to 1 Peter 3:15, “ but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,“ However, you can witness each day to the power of the risen Christ in your life by what you say, how you respond, who you help, what you do for others, how you treat them, etc. Our lives speak for Jesus along with our mouths. We can give a word of praise to God for little and big things in our lives and others will hear it. We can mention a verse of scripture and how it applies to our circumstances, we can offer to pray for a colleague or neighbor who is in need or lend a helping hand without being asked. There are many ways to show you love Jesus and that He is the driving force behind what you say and do. All of these witness to His power of redemption. At any point you are asked, you need to be willing and able to give words to your faith as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us- the reason for your hope.
Be encouraged today and mindful of the position and commission Jesus gave to me and you. Be bold for the gospel and let the gospel drive you thoughts, actions and words today.