Matthew 28:9–20 (NKJV)
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”Matthew 28:9-10
The two women leave the tomb to go and tell Jesus’ disciples that He has risen, and they run directing to Jesus, encouraging them to rejoice. What an amazing encounter! First, angels appear, and then Jesus Himself appears right before them, telling them not to fear, but to go and tell the brethren.
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.Matthew 28:11-15
The guards over the tomb went a different direction, to the city to tell the chief priests what had happened. They gave the soldiers a great deal of money to remain silent and blame the disciples, saying that they stole Jesus’ body from the tomb. There story was still being told at the time of the writing of this gospel.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.Matthew 28:16-17
The disciples obeyed the command of Christ shared by the women and went to Galilee, and there they saw Jesus and worshipped Him. Some of them still had their doubts, but how could one see the Christ and not believe?
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:18-20
In this section of the passage, Jesus is quoted as per the Matthean recollection of the final instructions He left for the church. He declares His power over all things, and the commands and commissions His followers to go and make disciples of all nations. They are to baptize and teach, going in the power of the Spirit of Christ, Who will never leave them until He comes. Later in this blog the Great Commission passages of the other gospels will be discussed, as they are recollections of different aspects of Jesus’ Great Commission to the church. However, in this passage, Jesus points out the need for discipleship that grows individuals in their faith and equips them for ministry. Let the church grow up their spiritual babies and children into mature Christians from now until the end of the age!
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”Mark 16:15–18 (NKJV)
In this Marcan account of the final instructions, Jesus’ focus is slightly different, concentrating on the kerygma, or preaching, of the church. In Matthew, they were to disciple. In Mark, they are instructed to preach. In both, they were to baptize. In Mark, they are to also understand that signs will follow believers. The ministry of evangelism has always included, preaching, teaching, ordinances, and the power of the Holy Spirit. If we attempt to minister the gospel in His name without any of these, our work is incomplete. Do not eschew or discount any of the elements spoken of in these final instructions, for they are life to your ministry and your witness!