“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/26/10): Demand #49 “Make Disciples of All Nations, For All Authority Belongs to Jesus”

Matthew 28:18-20

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 9:37-38

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Luke 14:23

“Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

John 20:21

As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

“Before Jesus demanded that his followers go make disciples of all nations, he gave the justification for this seemingly presumptuous mission. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). The basis today of any follower of Jesus telling a follower of another lord to repent and turn and follow Jesus is that Jesus has all authority in the universe.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The phrase “heaven and earth” is meant to include everything. Therefore, everyone and everything is subordinate to Jesus. Every human. Every angel. Every demon. The devil himself. And all the natural world and what happens in it. We see this illustrated even during Jesus’ earthly ministry. He has authority to forgive sins, which only God can do; and so he was accused of blasphemy (Mark 2:7-12). We see it in the way he taught the people and the way he handled the Jewish Scriptures: “They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22; Matt. 5:17-18). We see it in the way he rebuked the devil (Matt. 4:10) and commanded unclean spirits: “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” (Mark 1:27). We see it in the way he commanded the forces of nature by healing all kinds of diseases (Matt. 4:23) and turning water into wine (John 2:9; 4:46) and calming the storm: “He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). We see Jesus’ authority in the matter of life and death, both his own and other’s—and ultimately in the matter of eternal life. He raised people from the dead (Mark 5:41-42; Luke 7:14-15; John 11:43-44) and ruled over his own death and resurrection: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18). And he holds full sway in the final judgment. He said that God the Father “has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). And God has “given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom [God has] given him” (John 17:2).

There is nothing outside the authority of Jesus. He has the right and the power to demand allegiance from every soul that exists. As the Lord of the universe, Jesus demands that everyone from every nation and every religion become his disciple. The way Jesus pursues this universal claim on every soul is by sending his followers to make disciples from all the nations. After saying that all authority in heaven and earth is his, he says, “therefore . . .” This word shows not only that his universal authority is the basis of his universal claim on every person, but also that the way he lays claim to those persons follows in the next verse. What follows is a commission that his followers go and make disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). In other words, Jesus does not lay claim on a person directly from heaven. He lays claim on people through his followers… Yes, he is doing it himself. But he did not mean that he would do it directly from heaven without emissaries. We know this because when he prayed for the future church in John 17:20, he described them as “those who will believe in me through their word.”

In other words, Jesus builds his church and gathers his flock from the nations of the world through the word of those he sends. So the universal authority of Jesus issues in a mission that lasts as long as history and extends as far as humanity: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). The words “to the end of the age” show that the mission should last till Jesus comes back. The demand is not given only to the first generation of disciples. The mission lasts as long as the mission-sustaining promise lasts. And that promise is: The all-authoritative Jesus will be with us “to the end of the age.” As long as there is time, and as long as there are nations to reach, Jesus’ demand to go make disciples is valid. This implies several things. First, it implies that Jesus’ exclusive claim will be made not just by him, but by his followers. He claimed that he is the one and only Lord of the universe and that every person from every nation and every religion or non-religion should be his disciple. This claim is now given to his emissaries to make disciples among all the nations and all the religions of the world. Jesus sends his followers to go make disciples of all nations, no matter what their religion is… He sends his followers, backed by his universal authority, to go and call all people in every nation and every religion to turn to become the disciples of Jesus.

This means that in times of relativism (like our own), when people do not cherish objective, unchanging truth, followers of Jesus will be accused of arrogance. They will proclaim that Jesus has all authority—because it is true—and that everyone should repent and believe in him and become his disciple. They will warn everyone that to reject Jesus as the eternal Son of God who came into the world to redeem sinners by his death and who rose again as Lord of the universe is to forfeit eternal life. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. . . . Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 3:36; 5:23; cf. 15:23). A second implication of Jesus’ universal mission is that Jesus cares for all ethnic groups and intends to have disciples from every “nation.” Wherever there is a distinct people group  that has no disciples of Jesus, the demand of Jesus is resoundingly clear: “Go as my emissaries with my authority and my word and my love and my power and make disciples there.” There is no partiality with Jesus in this mission. He is not western, and he is not eastern. He is utterly committed to ethnic diversity and unity in the truth of his supremacy. In fact, the word from which we get “ethnic” is the word for “nations” in Matthew 28:19 (pg. 363-368.)”

*** Please listen to the audio clip titled “Jesus Is” by author/pastor David Platt, which is linked in my Vodpod on this page.  May it and this message challenge you to embrace Jesus’ lordship over each sphere of your life and may it empower you to take his Gospel to your world.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 8:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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