Direction and Authority Part 1 of 2

Eyewitness pp 261,262
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Acts 9:19b,20 NIV
In your Bible: Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 9:19b,20

The Eleven, the women, and believers went to the mountain as the resurrected Jesus instructed them. There Jesus gave them direction and authority after his ascension. Earlier they were shocked, grieving, and in despair. Now they were overjoyed to see Jesus again. But he knew he must prepare them for the tasks that would impact mankind for generations.

Jesus told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).

Go

It’s important to know that the Father gave Jesus all authority—including authority over the evil one. When Jesus says “Go” with his authority, he conveys authority to the believer to do his will and the tasks he gives. The Eleven and other believers reached out to the Jewish nation.

Later, Saul of Tarsus, would meet the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. After spending several days with disciples there, Paul would follow Jesus’ command teaching Gentiles that Jesus was the Son of God (See Acts 9:19b-20). What an amazing turn-around for this persecutor of believers! Saul now named the Apostle Paul ministered in primarily Asia Minor.

Do

The disciples knew what Jesus meant when he said disperse or GO and they also knew what he meant when he said make disciples. However, sadly today we often we interpret this to mean “go and tell” – that’s far from disciple making.

Disciple making takes time and concerted effort teaching what Scripture means (even if it’s just what it means to you), and relating Bible stories. It’s a process that may take years, not one sermon or a weekend.

A disciple is best interpreted as “student.” Jesus chose the Twelve. Hundreds more were followers and some were disciples also. This took over three years. Then each Apostle (the Twelve), made disciples themselves. This process took centuries until now – you and I can be disciples. Yes, Jesus said, “I am with you always . . .”

Prayer: Father, I get it. I believe you and I will be part of the process to lead and teach others all about you. You are truly amazing, patient and abundant in lovingkindness.

Questions: What do you understand about Jesus having all authority? What is the difference between hearing the Gospel and becoming a disciple?

Just Before His Ascension

“And when the Holy Spirit comes, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the world” (Acts 1:8 THE MESSAGE).

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:29,30; and Acts 1:1-11
In Your Bible: Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:29,30; and Acts 1:1-11

Scripture contains several accounts of the resurrection. Imagine how astounding it was! He gave them this commission as one of the last things he said.

Jesus… gave his charge [to his disciples], “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20 THE MESSAGE).

When the disciples boldly asked Jesus, if he would restore the Kingdom to Israel after all the lost years, Jesus replied with an odd statement, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit”… (Acts 1:7 THE MESSAGE).

Gift From the Father

Then Jesus revealed they and all believers would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes – to do things for the Kingdom. Jesus continued, “And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” These were Jesus’ last words (Acts 1:8,9 THE MESSAGE).

Jesus Ascends

This passage in Mark reads this way: Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them [disciples] was taken up to heaven, and sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence (Mark 16:19,20 THE MESSAGE). God was with them working His work. Alleluia.

Application: The Holy Spirit empowers believers. This was the start what we now call the church (body of believers). The entire command Jesus gave here outlines what believers are to be doing today…spread the gospel, train, baptize, and teach all that Jesus said to do.

Prayer: Father, what a command and what a JOY to know Jesus sits at your right hand. It encourages me that he is with me daily.

Question: What amazes you most about the Great Commission? How can you tell others about Jesus and his love for them?

Jesus’ Prayer in John 17

Part four of a series.

Jesus said, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony” (John 17:20 New Living Translation).
Eyewitness: p. 233
In  Your Bible: John 17:20-26

Jesus Prays for ALL Believers

Jesus made it clear that he wanted all people to hear his message and come to know his Father. He desired all believers to be with him and see the glory God gave him. He appealed to the Father, “Let them be of one spirit, as we are” (Eyewitness John 17:21a). Jesus closed this prayer, with… “I have shown them who you are and will continue to make you known so your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them” (Eyewitness John 17:26).

What is Next?

Jesus dedicated himself to the needs of the disciples in the task he set before them after he prayed for them. He told them again what to do and assured them that he would be with them. The verses at the end of Matthew and Mark give the most complete commands he gave the disciples.

Jesus said, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth”…

  • Go.
  • Make disciples of all the nations.
  • Baptize believers in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Teach these new disciples to obey all my [Jesus’] commands I have given you.
  • And be sure of this I will be with you always,even to the end of the age.

(List from Matthew 28:18-20 New Living Translation).

Application: Jesus told the disciples the plan he and his Father expected. He told the disciples to do these things they must be of one spirit – reminding them he and the Father are one. Just before Jesus departure from earth, he gave them encouragement and more instructions on what their task on earth was. Glory!

Prayer: Father, thank you for not leaving believers alone and for giving us a task for your glory. You are amazing.

Question: Is it difficult to understand how dedicated Jesus was to the task set before him and us? Do we remember what Jesus wants us to do? He commanded us to love one another. How do we do that?