We live in an age when our Saviour is absent. He is in glory. What we need to know for this time of His absence is disclosed to us, by our Lord, in the final days before He ascended to glory. As He speaks to His disciples He is risen from the dead and is preparing them (and us) for the time of His absence. Matthew 28:16-20 provides us with a description of the Lord’s final appearing to His disciples before He ascended to glory.
In this passage we discern that the primary thing for the disciples, in their ongoing life is for them to know Him. They need to have a living awareness of who He is. It is this that will equip them to keep moving forward for God through the times ahead.
In three particular ways they need to know Him,
- In v16 he is set before them as shepherd. To get a full grasp of this revelation we need to go back to Matt 26:31-32. In that passage we see the Saviour presenting Himself as the Shepherd to His disciples. He says to them: Then Jesus told them, ‘This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
‘“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’
In understanding this imagery we need to be aware that a shepherd led sheep in an eastern culture. Furthermore in Matthew 28:1-10, when the reality of the Lord’s resurrection is revealed first to the ladies by the angel and then to the disciples by the Lord Himself, it is as the One who is going before them to Galilee. If you look at Matthew 28:7 and 10 the Lord is presented in th9s way. Implicit in this resurrection revelation is the challenge of whether they will respond and follow the Shepherd. Encouragingly they do go and find this One in Galilee as promised. And in doing so they confessed that they would follow Him as their Shepherd.
This is key to our own lives. Will we start to get our livings right and follow the Shepherd. It all starts here.
- In vs 17 the disciples worship Jesus as Lord God. Only God is truly to be worshipped. In vs 17, Jesus receives worship from His disciples.It might be helpful at this juncture to stop off and consider what it is to truly worship. To worship is to tell of the worth of someone or something; It is to appreciate, It is to marvel and to magnify. Only God is worthy of this in the fullest sense. The disciples realise that Jesus is the Lord God and they worship Him. It is integral to us advancing in life and for God to be worshippers of His Christ.
- In vs 18, we see that Jesus is presented as the King who has all authority. As such he is to be submitted to and trusted. We read at the end of vs 17 that some were doubting; they wondered which way they should be going. Into that context Jesus presents himself as the One who is in control of all things. He sets the terms for all things and he carries out those terms because he is the eternal LORD God with all might.As they appreciate Him, as the eternal King and trust Him and submit to Him, they will be in the right position to live lives which have a vitality.
When we live as those knowing Jesus as the Shepherd who cares, the God to be worshipped and the King to be trusted and obeyed then we will be set up for life. We will be establishing ourselves as the progeny of those who in Jesus’ resurrection days were being prepared for his absence.
Surely, our lives would be transformed if this triumvirate of activities gripped our beings.