Day 28 of my 28 day #DailyMatthew experience.
Without the reality of Matthew 28, the story of Jesus would have been one of the most tragic in all of history. The good news, though, is that the story did not end with Matthew 27. And in reality, the story doesn’t end with Matthew 28, either. 🙂
Resurrection. How do you react to that word? Why do you react to that word? The reality of the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. It is the validation of Jesus’ life and mission, it is the launching pad for the new lives of Jesus’ followers (including today), and it is the guarantee of the total transformation that followers of Jesus start to experience in this present life and into eternity. So yes, the resurrection is a big deal.
But did you notice the final words of Jesus that are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew? They are a missional command, sandwiched between two statements of cosmic reality.
The rallying cry of Jesus is to “make disciples of all nations” (the Greek verb form is an imperative), which is essentially a continuation of the mission of Jesus. Followers of Jesus are expected to continue the mission of Jesus. Mission is not optional, it is essential. And it is an expectation for every single follower of Jesus. Disciples make disciples. Following Jesus is not a spectator sport, it is a participation sport!
But that is not the only thing that Jesus said. Prior to his missional rallying cry, Jesus affirmed his authority, and afterward he affirmed his proximity. In theological terms, that refers to God’s transcendence and God’s immanence. Both are cornerstones of the biblical concept of God, and both are descriptions of Jesus himself.
Jesus has the authority to expect and enable mission, Jesus issued the rallying cry to continue the mission, and Jesus promised to not abandoned his followers as they fulfill the mission.
So … in the words of Westwood’s vision statement … go out and “Bring Jesus into Life”!