© Rosemary Bardsley 2012


What happened? Describe the events of the resurrection from 28:1-17.







































When Jesus called his first disciples to follow him his call had a specific orientation: ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  [Matthew 4:19]. Later, after his resurrection, he said to his disciples ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ [John 20:21].

The Father sent his Son into the world

[1] to glorify and reveal God [John 1:18; 17:4];

[2] to seek and to save the lost [Luke 19:10; 1 John 4:14], and

[3] to give his life a ransom for many [Mark 10:45].

The last of these is the exclusive responsibility of Jesus Christ. Christians might die because they are involved in the work of the kingdom, but their deaths are never redemptive. The first, Christ did fully and perfectly, and commands us to follow him in this purpose of making God known by our witness, both verbal and non-verbal. The second he did in his earthly life; to us he commits the job of telling others about him as the One who seeks and saves.

Now here in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus reaffirms his original calling of the disciples, commissioning them to go into all the world fishing for men ... making disciples of all nations.


B.1 ‘all authority has been given to me’

The basis or foundation of this commission is the total and absolute authority of Jesus. This 'all authority' of Matthew reflects John’s record concerning the authority of Jesus:

• Authority over life – John 5:21
• All judgment has been entrusted to him – 5:22, 27
• Authority over death – 11:25

This authority is also indicated in:

• John 10:18 – [Jesus’ authority over his own life and death]
• John 17:2 - ‘you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him’ 

As we have studied Matthew’s Gospel we have seen the authority of Jesus … authority over the Law and the Sabbath, authority over nature, authority over evil spirits, authority over physical life and death, authority over God’s truth, authority over people.

We are speaking here not primarily of power [dunamis] but of authority [exousia] (although Jesus Christ has both power [physical strength] and authority [legal power]).

Jesus Christ has absolute authority.

Why does he refer to his absolute and universal authority here? He does so to motivate and equip his disciples for global mission.

He does so, also, because the nations desparately need to know that he is the King, that he is the ultimate authority to whom they are all accountable even now, and to whom they will one day bow in unquestioned acknoweldgement [Philippians 2:10,11].  


B.2 Therefore go
Because all authority is given to me … go into all the world.

There is no place beyond my authority.
There is no place beyond my authority to redeem and regenerate.
There is no place beyond my judgement.
All places are under my authority.
All people are under my authority.

And - all people need to be told that I am the King, the God of all the earth.

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 I have commanded you.

Worldwide mission is the natural task for those who recognize the authority of Jesus, those who know that Jesus is the King.


B.3 Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age

In engaging in this commission Jesus' disciples have the backing and reassurance of his authoritative presence. Before he returned to his Father, Jesus promised to be always present with his disciples:

Matthew 28: 20: ‘and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
John 14:18: ‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.’

We have looked in these Matthew studies at his very demanding calls, challenges and commands. They are, in fact, impossible. They are beyond us. Left to ourselves we could never line up with all that Christ has put before us. If we think that we could, we either do not understand ourselves, or we do not understand these words of Christ. And here at the very end, he has given us an impossible commission.

But Christ has not left us alone to live life in his Kingdom alone. He has not commissioned us to an impossible responsibility and left us to do it on our own. He is here on our journey of discipleship with us. He is here with us as we move out in obedience to his commission.

In what way is he present with us?

He is the ever present creator and sustainer of our physical life.

He is the ever present source and giver of our spiritual life.

He lives within every genuine believer by his Spirit.

Jesus, whose power transcends all other powers, whose presence transcends the boundaries and limits of time and space, is present with us and living in us.

He promises his presence and his empowerment for the life of discipleship and mission. He doesn’t say: I’ll do it for you. He entrusts it to us and promises his presence and his enabling as we do it for him.

In this confidence we live.

In this confidence we can embrace the freedom he has restored to us, which we had forfeited at the fall: the freedom to say ‘yes’ to his call, his challenge, his command and his promise.

For his glory.  For his honour.  For his kingdom.