As I thought about Elder Lesley Wong’s exhortation this past Sunday from Matthew 28:16-20, I was again humbled by the fact that Jesus both calls us to be His disciples, and also empowers us to continue His ministry for the Glory & Kingdom of God. I appreciated how Elder Lesley pointed out a key word in verse 19: Therefore.
When I was in high school, I distinctly remember one of our speakers at our winter camp teaching us the importance of noticing when verses began with words like “therefore” or even “but”. It hints to us that the verses before it are important, and give us significant context to it. So, as Elder Les pointed it out, I also felt called to reiterate verse 18, which significantly reminds us of who Jesus is–not only our Savior, but our Lord who has “all authority in heaven & on earth”.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:16-20
How often do we forget Who Jesus is? Who God is? You may find this similar to my “Acknowledging the Me“, but I think it’s intentional that we find in Scripture so many declarations, praises and reminders of Who God is. The fact of the matter is that our sin often diverts our attention away from God & leads us to focus solely onto ourselves.
These past couple of week’s I’ve had us really reflect on ourselves and be honest before the Lord. As much as I think that’s important and even demonstrated in the cries of David in the Psalms, I think there’s a great importance in reminding ourselves of God’s sovereignty & power.
In verse 18, Jesus is reminding His disciples of Who He is before giving them the task at hand to go make disciples, indicating that verse 19 was not a suggestion, but a command given under His authority. When we confess to be followers of Christ, we acknowledge Who He is, what He has done for us, and declaring obedience and submission to God. Our gracious, merciful & just God is the Creator of the Universe, giver of life, & more than worthy of our praise & worship, and the offering of our entire lives. Perhaps we can say this easily, or know it in our heads, but are we living lives that truly believe it?
This devotional is not written to guilt or shame anyone into going and making disciples, or into joining Life Groups (as they were launched this past Sunday). It’s a call to reflect on Who you see God to be in your life. Who is Jesus truly to you?
How often do we forget the greatness of God–His power, His holiness, His sovereignty? How often do we take for granted the fact that Jesus came to pay for our sins on the cross (Romans 5:6-8), and calling us friend (John 15:13-17)? How easily do we forget that He calls us into an intimate relationship with Him as His disciples (Matthew 4:18-22), and adopts us into His family as fellow heirs (Romans 8:15-17).
Take a moment and reflect on Who God is this week. And consider how your life and actions reflect that belief. Spend time in prayer, and ask God to reveal Himself more to you.
Especially with Easter coming up, may we not get caught up in tradition, or the fun of the celebration (though of course, I believe it’s a joyous celebration indeed!!), but may we truly spend this time reflecting on Who God is, and who we make Him out to be in our lives. May the reminder of Who He is and what He has done for us on the cross call our hearts to praise & glorify Him in all that we do.
I have included some songs of worship that I hope can help exhort and encourage you as you reflect this week.
Hungry for more?
We encourage you to feast on the word of God. If you’ve got some resources on your bookshelf, dig in! If you’re looking for more translations, resources, and devotional guides, try any of the following links or search for more online.
Create an atmosphere to encounter God
During this historical time, we’ve been collecting songs along the way. You can find the playlists on SGPC’s Spotify profile (requires a free Spotify account). Listen to old favorites and discover new songs of the season! Spring off into some of the suggestions generated by Spotify or search for your own go-to songs. These also work well as background music for studying scripture (or anything else).