A Promise and a Command

In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus gives his disciples a command to teach the nations. This command is preceded by a promise that not only enables his disciples to follow the command but also gives them hope that they will see results. Jesus did not send his disciples into the world to talk to the nations and hope they listen. He tells them that all authority including authority over the nations has been given to him. They do not go out into the world by themselves. All authority and control has been given to Jesus. He has chosen to exercise that authority by sending out his disciples to teach the nations to follow him.

We who follow Jesus today are the descendants of those disciples. We are the evidence that they obeyed His command and believed His promise. We have passed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light because Jesus is the ruler of this world. The disciples were commanded to teach “all things” that Jesus had taught them. We are to continue in that same tradition. The command is much more than a command to tell about Jesus. It is a command to teach people to obey all things that the living word has given us in His written word.

We cannot focus on the command apart from the promise.  We can teach the nations because it will have an effect.  We must teach the nations because it is the way in which God has ordained to exercise his authority.  When we get discouraged about the way things are in the world we need to realize that the discouragement is a symptom of our real problem.  The problem is not that there continue to be evil men in the world.  When we are discouraged, the problem is that we have not believed that God has authority over those evil men.  We must have faith and believe the promises.  We must then proclaim all that Jesus taught – worship God, love God, love your neighbor, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t covet, and believe that Jesus died to provide forgiveness to sinners who trust Him as their only escape.

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