The Resurrection of Jesus: 28:1-15.
(Read Matt 28:1-15)
All four Gospels report of the resurrection of Jesus. Matthew gives only a brief account of it. Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb (Matt 27:56; 28:1). By the time the women reached the tomb, it was empty. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, the angel came down and rolled away the stone. The angel said to the women “Fear not, Jesus is not here: for he has risen as he said. Come, see the place where he lay”. The empty tomb and the angel’s testimony of Jesus’ resurrection filled the women with fear and great joy. On their way to tell others, the risen Christ appeared to them and they worshiped him. Jesus said to them “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and they will see me there” (Matt 28:7, 10). Matthew gives the falsified report of the guards (28:11-15). The religious leaders bribed them to say the ridiculous and fabricated story that “The disciples stole the body while guards were sleeping”. How could these defeated and coward disciples overpower the Roman guards and steal Jesus’ body? Christ’s enemies circulate this story even today (Matt 28:15). The resurrection of Jesus is the proof of his deity (Rom 1:4). The burial of Jesus is the evidence of his death. Christ’s death and resurrection were the fulfillment of the scripture (John 20:9; Acts 26:23; Psalms 16:10). Christianity stands or falls on this doctrine. If Christ is not risen; our preaching is vain, our faith also in vain, we become false witnesses, we are still in our sin, the dead in Christ are perished and we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor 15:14-19). The doctrine of resurrection is vital to the historical preaching of the gospel. It is also vital to the prophetic preaching of the gospel. It gives hope and encourages to endure persecution for the gospel (1 Cor 15:29-34). The truth of Christ's resurrection has prevailed in the lives of millions of people in the church history. Jesus appeared to hundreds of disciples (1 Cor 15:3-8). They went on telling this story because they could not help but speak of what they had seen and heard.
The Great Commission: 28:16-20.
(Read Matt 28:16-20)
The risen Christ sent his disciples to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all the nations. This is called the great commission. They are sent forth with his authority as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). Making disciples is fundamental to the mission of the church. All authority and power are given to them to carry out the great commission. Disciple making involves two basic tasks, baptizing and teaching (Matt 28:19-20). Making disciple is not merely a matter of education but the process of teaching and training beginning with conversion. It is teaching people to obey what Christ has commanded. When believers identify with Christ, they experience his presence and power in their lives. His love motivates them to love and obey Christ. The church’s mission and disciple making are inseparable. If the church does not have a disciple making agenda as its central goal, it fails in its mission. The first step in making disciples is recognizing that we are under the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. Only the believers should be baptized. The water baptism is the first step of obedience to Christ. It symbolizes the inward cleansing God performed in us. Only Christ can forgive sin. Baptism means “To dip or immerse”. It is demonstrates our identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. The believers are baptized in the “Name” (singular) of “the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. This indicates the unity in the Godhead.
Christ promised his disciples that he will be with them always, even to the end of the age. Christ guarantees the success of their mission. Christ sends us with his authority and power to make disciples. In the New Testament two different words are used for authority and power. The Greek word used for authority is “exousia” which means authority of a king (Matt 28:18). The word used for power is “dunamis” which means ability (Acts 1:8). In Jesus we have both the authority and the power. Authority without power is useless and power without authority is dangerous. The church is empowered to make disciples. There is no excuse for not obeying the great commission. To become a disciple, one must answer Christ’s call and count the cost to follow Christ. It is a lifelong commitment. The more we experience Christ, the more we realize the unlimited resources we have in him (2 Pet 1:3). The calling to make disciple is fundamental to the mission of every Christian. Pray that God would give you the power to do that. God bless you all.