“Therefore, go 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 obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age” (Matthew 28:19-20, CEB).
After His death and resurrection in Jerusalem, Jesus made several post-resurrection appearances to His disciples in Jerusalem and in Galilee. It was in Galilee that Jesus appeared to His disciples (some believe the “more than 500” that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15:6) and directed them to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
All Christians are very familiar with the Great Commission. In fact, you could say that Christianity is organized around the Great Commission. Almost everything we do as the Church is in response to the Great Commission.
But, in our zeal to perform the first part of the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples,” we sometimes omit the second part, “I will be with you.”
“The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:9-11, ESV).
The twenty-four elders may represent the orders of priests serving in the Old Testament temple or they may symbolize the unity of God’s people as encompassing the twelve tribes of Old Testament Israel and the twelve apostles of the New Testament church–like the new Jerusalem’s twelve gates and twelve foundations in Revelation 21. Their thrones resemble those of God’s heavenly court in Daniel 7.
“And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised” (2 Kings 4: 44, NLT).
In 2 Kings 4 the prophet Elisha performs two miracles that demonstrate the principle of supply and demand according to the economy of God’s Kingdom.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT).
We’ve all heard the amusing story about the man who falls over a cliff and grabs a branch on the face of the cliff to break his fall. As he is hanging from the branch, he calls up toward heaven, “If anybody is up there, help me!” Suddenly a voice booms down from heaven, “LET GO OF THE BRANCH!” The man hanging from the branch thinks about it for a moment and then calls out, “Is anybody else up there?”
“Amazement came over them all, and they kept saying to one another, ‘What is this message? For He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!’ And news about Him began to go out to every place in the vicinity” (Luke 4:36-37, HCSB).
After Jesus was baptized by John and then tempted by the devil for forty days, He officially began His ministry. Jesus started out by teaching in synagogues in Galilee near His hometown of Nazareth..
“Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and horrified. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is swallowed up in sorrow—to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.’ Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:32-36, HCSB).
If the Transfiguration revealed Jesus’s divine nature, then Gethsemane revealed His humanity.
A lot of theological interpretations and explanations have been offered for the anguish expressed by Jesus at Gethsemane. Certainly He was about to bear the sins of all humanity–past, present, and future–and it was a horrific proposition!
Because of the misunderstanding of the Jews, Jesus provided a detailed description in this passage of His relationship and commissioning by the Heavenly Father. His relationship to God the Father was one of submission and in turn established the conditions under which He commissions believers:
1. “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17). Jesus conducted His ministry when and where He saw God’s activity and providence even if it was on the Sabbath. Because the nature of the Father is continuous activity, Jesus, therefore, occupied Himself with constantly performing the work and activity of the Father
2. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). Jesus did as God the Father did. Jesus was completely submitted to the will of God the Father in accomplishing His mission. Therefore, Jesus did not act or speak of His own accord but only spoke or did what the Father told Him.
3. “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel” (John 5:20). The succession of authority flows from God the Father to the Son to Jesus’ disciples. Because the Father has commissioned the Son, the Son has the authority to commission His disciples.
As Jesus’ disciples, we should serve God following the same model Jesus used in His ministry, which is to be completely submitted to God so that you can see where God is working and then say or do what God directs you to do. Notice this approach is just the opposite from how most of us serve God , which is to think what good things we can do for God, go do them, and then ask God to bless our efforts.