Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This statement by Jesus at the end of Matthew’s gospel is well known by Christian’s, yet in our day, not so well lived out. I find it interesting who Jesus spoke these words to. The previous two verses said
Matthew 28:16-17 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
We could debate as to who was all on this mountain and saw the Lord on this occasion, but I don’t think that is the point. What we see is these were “seeing Jesus” and some worshipped, while others doubted. This is always the case. Mixed among the worshippers of our Lord there are always those who do not believe. Yet to all of them, Jesus issues what we have come to call the great commission which starts out with the words “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”.
All authority. That means authority over every single person, believer and unbeliever. Jesus authority in a person’s life doesn’t begin when they accept him as Lord, or receive Him as Lord. He is Lord of all. In this commissioning, we must remember His Lordship in the midst of our evangelism. “Go, therefore and make disciples” is a command from all authority. It is a command to those who believe to take up the word of God, the Gospel of our Lord and proclaim it, to herald this message to the ends of the earth.
Yet it is also a command from all authority to those who do not believe to become disciples, to be baptized (to begin a walk of obedience), and to observe Jesus commands (to continue in obedience), as he walks with all His people forever. Jesus commands both believer’s and unbeliever’s to “go make disciples”. For the unbeliever this first means repent of your own unbelief, turn to Christ, become a disciple, and go tell others to do the same.
As we present the Gospel to a lost and dying world, we must remember who is Lord with all authority. Our Lord is in full authority over our witnessing, our message, and our intent. There were two groups on that mountain, believer’s and unbeliever’s, and they weren’t separated by who went to church or who professed to believe, but by who took the command of Jesus to be authoritative in their life.
As believer’s we need to start living like we believe he really is in the position of all authority, or I would suggest we are merely labeling ourselves incorrectly and we really are not believer’s at all.
The second point is this: He is sitting in full authority over every single set of ears that hears our message. We must remember that though the message of the Gospel is a person passionate pleading and urging to the unbeliever to come to Christ, as we see in 2 Corinthians 5:20 (Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God) yet at the same time, the Gospel is a command. The Gospel message is also a command from on High to the unbeliever to turn to Christ through repentance and faith. It is a command from “all authority”.
As we proclaim the message of our King, let’s remember who is in authority over all men. Our Lord, Jesus Christ.