Matthew 28:11-20 Part 10


For the last four weeks we’ve dealt only with the words of the Great Commission; and it’s been a kind of a scattered approach to it, since we’ve jumped around a bit.  So, this morning we’ll put it all together and try to gain some idea of its full meaning and impact.  Then, with whatever time we have, we’ll look into the obvious implications of Christ’s Great Commission – for us as individual believers.

And then the next two times we meet we can explore those implications for families, for the Church, and for civil governments and other institutions.  And maybe, a couple of Sundays from now, we’ll also have some comments to make with regard to the Commission and the millennium.  (That’s a “given”, isn’t it?)

As Zechariah prophesied (chapter thirteen), God raised up the Sword and “struck” the Shepherd and all the sheep were scattered.  And then the “nations” were brought up against Jerusalem.  But God would cause “living water’ to flow out of Jerusalem, the City of God – to the east and to the west.

We remember no less than in three recorded occasions our Lord had commanded His disciples to gather on a mountain in Galilee.


“And there you shall see Me,” He said.


Scattered and confused and dejected, and under great fear of the Judaist Sanhedrin and of the Roman government, the thousands (of remnant) who had followed Jesus into Jerusalem (in great expectation of His becoming their King) took flight from the Mountain of God.

Henceforth the “mountain” of God would be “moved”… the old one removed and cast – burning – to the sea; and the new government of God would be over all the mountains of the earth (significance of the Mountain in Galilee)!

Life itself would flow east and west into all nations of the earth; and the Rock (which is Christ) would cover the earth as the water covers the sea.

From that mountain in Galilee, at the command of the Risen Lord to His disciples, the voice of Christ Himself would be heard in every nation, every tongue, and every tribe.  And the highways shall be made straight; and every valley shall be exalted; and every mountain shall be brought low.  And kings and nations and tribes and families shall flow into the New Jerusalem.

By “covenant succession” you and I (of the pagan Gentile nations) are “New Jerusalem” inhabitants.  From generation to generation, and from faith to faith, the Command of Christ to His disciples on that mountain has reached even to us.  And we all were dead in our sin.  Ever deeper, and ever widening, the River of Life has flowed all the way to the east and all the way to the west!  And the “life changing”, “society changing”, “culture changing”, “language changing” fifth Kingdom of Daniel is being established over all things.

Christ Jesus is King.  And all things are accountable to Him.  It is His inheritance.  It’s His Divine Right.  And His Princely pre-eminence flows from His mouth in splendid Revelation.

“All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.”


Jesus is God the Son.  All authority is His authority.  It belongs to Him.  Having “emptied Himself” in order to be born of a woman, He is now risen… the Son of God with Power!

Authority is His inherently!  It is from His being!  That’s what the word “authority” means.  So, Exousia means “self-determination”.  Authority originates in Him.  He is “self-existent”, “self-known”, and “self-determining”.  And “without Him nothing was made that was made”!

“All authority” means absolute, inherent, original authority.  Christ the King has, in Himself, the authority to create and the authority to eternally decreate!  It is inherently His.  God the Son, by Divine Right, is authority!

Therefore all other authority is derivative!  (That’s what the “ex” in “exousia” means!  It comes from Him.)  It is His originally, and it belongs to Him; and wherever else authority exists, it is given to exist by Him.

He has “all authority” in heaven.  “The heaven” is a created realm.  The angels, being creatures, do what they do because it is given them to do it!  As much as Satan would like for his authority to be original, it isn’t.  He is given to act and to exercise power – by decree!

Jesus Christ has “all authority… upon the earth!  Ownership is authority.  And the earth is His.  He created it.  All other ownership is derivative ownership.  All government belongs to Him, and He gives governmental authority to whoever and whatever He chooses.  (That’s why we must honor all governments – whether civil, ecclesiastic, or familial.)  We don’t honor powers and authorities because of the office; we don’t honor authorities because of the man; we honor them because the authority belongs to Jesus.  And He gives it to whoever He chooses.

The power to burn belongs to fire because it is given that power by God the Son.  Hurricanes and tornadoes don’t blow because of some inherent natural power….  Wasps and scorpions and ants don’t sting because the power rests in them to do so.  It is given them to sting… that power is derived!  These are creatures you see; and their Creator endowed them.  So, it isn’t because a scorpion is a scorpion that it has power to sting.

Wives and children are to “respect” – to honor – their husbands and fathers because the “head” of the household has been given authority by God the Son!  It’s not because of the man, or because of the manner in which he exercises his “headship”!  It’s because Christ the King established headship!

Further, “all authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.  Therefore… (since I Am Creator/God; since I Am the Self-existent, Self-knowing, Self-determining One; since all authority rests in Me originally; since all other authority is “derivative”, and comes from Me) therefore, having gone, disciple the nations….”!

The commission to the disciples was from “ultimate Authority”.  He gave the authority to these disciples to do what He commanded.  And that authority – having been given – was received by them.  Therefore it is a DIVINE, and a truly great, commission!  They were given authority to disciple the nations!

“Having gone” (or “as you go”) is one of two words translated “to go”.  And it is the one used on every occasion, Old Testament and New, in which a man is “sent” to prophesy.

And since that’s the case, these disciples (soon to be apostles) would soon understand that this is the same word by which God sent the prophets of old; and that this Jesus was O Logos – the Word of God; and that this was a Divine imperative from ultimate Authority!

Now.  The disciples of Jesus (the scribes of the New Testament), having been instructed in the Kingdom, are likened unto servants whose housemaster went into the treasure and brought out both old and new (Matthew thirteen).  The Lord of All, Who had been given all authority in heaven and upon earth, had instructed (discipled) them.  The Word of God made Flesh had instructed them in the Word of God!  They were confronted with the Truth!  They were “discipled” as to what was (in the Law and the Prophets); and they were “discipled” as to what was to be.  “Old and New” is one Revelation from the Word of God; and all of it is indispensable.

So, what are the “disciples” to do?


“All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.  Having gone therefore disciple the nations….”


Go into the treasure and bring out both old and new!

Having gone into the nations (the “ethnos” – the peoples of the world – the kingdoms of earth), instruct them in the WORD!  You have heard the Word of God instructing you in the “Word of God”.  Now you, with the very “voice” which you heard, instruct them!  “Disciple” them.  Instruct them in what the Law said; instruct them in what the prophets said.  And, then, instruct them in what the “Fullness” of the Word says.  For what God said in the “old” has now come to pass in the “new”.

And, just as the “old” Revelation flows into the Fullness of the “new”, so the old Covenant flows into the new!  Therefore, “disciple the nations, baptizing them….”  God has dealt with His people… having covenanted with them.  And the “mark” of His covenant was placed on their bodies!

Now the Fullness of the Covenant has come to pass; the Law is to be put in their hearts; and they will be My people who were not My people; and I will be their God, and they will be My people!  I will strike the Shepherd and “cut Him off”; and henceforth there will be no more “cutting off”.  My people will receive the “mark” of baptism!  By “oath” of confession they and all their house will come under My Covenant… in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And the “sign” and “seal” of My promise to Abraham their father will “mark them out” for Me to see.



“All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.  As you are going therefore, disciple the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; teaching them to keep….”


All of Jesus’ “teaching” was concerning Himself.  He either began with the Word from the Law and the Prophets, or He referred back to the Law and the Prophets.  And it was all in continuous reference to Himself.  Continuous.

So it was the Word of God made flesh continually confronting men with the Word of God!  The “starting point” was the Word – the Absolute Authority.  It is not “about” Jesus; it’s not “concerning” Jesus; it’s not “in reference to” Jesus; it doesn’t “contain” the Word of Jesus… it IS the very “voice” of Jesus!  It is O Logos….  The WORD – from the self-determining One Who is absolute authority!  The apostles never “applied” the Scriptures to Jesus; they never “applied” the Scriptures to men!  They spoke with the Voice of the King!  And He commanded conformity in all areas of life.

And the Third Person of the Trinity (by Whom men are baptized) hears the “voice of Christ” speaking the Word, and He “baptizes” and “enlightens” and “molds’ and “rebirths” and “conforms” men to the “voice” that He hears!  He doesn’t speak on His Own; but He speaks what He “hears” – “The Voice of Christ” – as it “trumpets” the Truth in confrontation with dead men!

Further, “Teaching them!” (continual, present tense – active voice)  Teaching them what?


“…teaching them to keep all that I did command to you.”


This is the only time Matthew uses this word “to keep” in this way.  And it’s obvious from the rest of Scripture that it has two similar meanings.

The peoples of the nations of the earth are to “obey” the Word of God Made Flesh.  His voice is heard in the instruction and teaching of the apostles; and He is Possessor of all authority.  Therefore He is the “source” of and “focus” for all obedience!

But the other (similar) meaning of “to keep” is equally powerful; for the people of the nations of the earth are to “keep” all His Word inviolate!  It is the prophet Daniel (the recipient of the vision of the five kingdoms of history) who, in his prayer of national repentance, uses the same words and phrases that our Lord uses.  John’s Revelation does too.


“And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, Who keeps His covenant mercy with those who love Him and keep His Commands.’”


Our Lord commissions His disciples concerning the WORD.  It is the transmitted message of Jesus Christ.  It is the Word of Revelation from Jesus.  It s the Word of the King.  He spoke it!  And since He is the “fullness” of the Word – O Logos Himself – it is the whole Word of God.  He spoke it all!

And that Word must be transmitted intact!  “…teaching them to keep intact all that I did command you.”  Watch over it.  Safeguard it.  For by it the nations are confronted and brought into conscious obedience to His Kingship.



“… teaching them to keep all that I did command to you.”


Teaching the nations of the earth to obey and keep intact “all I did command to you”.

Here is a word (command) which comes from absolute authority.  In our study of it we learned that, in every case, it is referenced to the Law and the Prophets; and, in so many cases (such as in Acts chapter thirteen) it is purposely linked to a direct quote from the prophets having to do with the nations!

As we’ve already said, Jesus always began with the written Word of God concerning Himself.  He spoke It and It concerns Him!  And His command to His disciples is expressly linked to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Covenant!

In Acts chapter thirteen the pharisees were obstinate toward the teaching of the apostles.  And Paul spoke directly to them and said,


“It was necessary that the Word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles, for the Lord has commanded us (there’s our word “all that I did command to you)….”

And right there Paul quotes Isaiah (chapter forty-nine, verse six):  ‘have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”


“…teaching them all I did command to you.”  Jesus commanded His disciples concerning His commands; and His commands had to do with the prophetic Scriptures; and the prophetic Scriptures had to do with Him and with the salvation of the nations!

So the Word of God made flesh commanded the apostles concerning the Word of God.  The word “command” – from the One with all authority – confers the authority of legal representation in a Divine commission!  The apostles are the legal representatives of the Word of God; they are commissioned with regard to it by the One with the Authority to confer legal representation; and they are to teach the nations to obey it and safeguard it.

(A compromised gospel; a situational gospel; a minimalized, or simplified, or trivialized gospel; a mysticized gospel; a subjective gospel… is not the “voice of God the Son”.  It is not the Word of God!  The Gospel is the power of God into salvation.  It is the transmitted voice of Christ, spoken by the apostles, and obeyed and kept intact by the nations.  “…all that I did command to you.”)


“And, lo, I with you AM even until the end of the age.”


As we’ve seen all through the Gospel the little word “lo” is always indicative of significant events or sayings which are directly attributable to the prophetic Word.  And we are certainly not disappointed on this occasion.

For Jesus Christ personally identifies Himself with “Jahveh/I Am” in Exodus chapter three.  Moses, at the burning bush, hears the voice of God sending him to lead the people out of Egypt.  And, complaining that he can’t do it, he asks God’s NAME so that he can tell the people Who sent him.  And from the same Hebrew root word from which comes “JAHVEH”, God said “I AM THAT I AM”.  Tell them “I AM” sent you.  The self-existing, self-knowing, self-determining One, Who is, and was, and forever will be – IS!

“I AM” Who parted the sea; “I AM” Who protected you front and rear in the pillar of fire and the pillar of smoke; “I AM” who descended to Mt. Sinai to speak with Moses; “I AM” Who inhabited the tabernacle and the temple in the clouds of angels from beneath the Throne-room!

And it is “I AM WITH YOU” Immanue,l promised to God’s people in Isaiah!  It is Jesus, the Risen Lord, Who has been given all authority in heaven and upon earth.  “I AM” Immanuel.

And His disciples hear Him say, “I AM” will be with you, even to the end of the age.  Elohim; El Shaddai; El Elyon; Jahveh Sabbaoth; El Olam; Adonai….  Ehyeh – I AM – “with you even to the end of the age.”

All through the discipling of the nations; all through the establishment of the Church; all through the hardships and persecution and humiliation and suffering; all the way to the parousia of the Christ, the personal, faithful, covenanting, Creator-God….  Jahveh Lord Jesus Christ will be with them – discipling the nations, establishing the Church, confronting men with the Gospel of God, submitting all authority, making all creation accountable to Christ the King.

I thought we might have time to begin commenting on some of the implications of the Great Commission.  But we don’t.  Let me just leave you with this.  Covenantal succession is implied in the Great Commission.  Now, all who are reborn in Him are obligated to confront men with the voice of Christ; all are obligated to disciple the nations; all are obligated to keep (obey and safeguard) the Gospel.  His authority is behind the command.  And what would be absolutely impossible otherwise, now becomes gloriously possible – even an assured reality.

What we have just witnessed is that the Great Commission is “cosmic salvation”.  Not a “Darwinian cosmology” of human evolution toward utopia, but a personal, cosmic salvation!


“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son….”

“Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.”


The world’s problem is sin; and Jesus Christ has authority over sin and death!


“All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.”


And, while we faithfully pursue His commands, and as we pray “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”, all His enemies are being made His footstool.

What is your role?  That’s what we’ll discuss next time.  Has that apostolic authority been delegated to us?

The continuity of the Covenant makes it clear that it has.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the “Fullness” of the Word.  And the Word has to do with the salvation of the world!  So, there is a deposit of responsibility that has occurred to us in this generation.