Jesus Divine Design - World Strategic Design As Seen in Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus Divine Design - World Strategic DesignAs Seen in Matthew 28:16-20

By Allen Quist 

Jesus Delivers His Strategic Plan

Jesus’authority. Matthew used the text in his Gospel to provide the reader a foundation of Jesus’ authority. Through Matthew’s Gospel, he built the foundation of Jesus’ authority using instances of “ascribed” honor by his reference to Jesus’ genealogy. He “ascribed” honor by his affirmation from the Father at Jesus’ baptism , and at the mountaintop appearance with Elijah and Moses. Matthew built Jesus’ “acquired” honor using challenge-response confrontations. In addition, by His resurrection, Jesus established His power and authority over death. These examples from Jesus’ life offer stepping-stones to Matthew’s record of Jesus’ final proclamation of authority.

Matthew’s readers are now ready to hear, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus’ pronouncement paints a strong picture of Jesus as the one with complete and total authority over all creation. This proclaims Jesus as the only true God.

Matthew connects Jesus’ commissioning to Jesus’ authority. Jesus ties His authority over all creation to his command for the disciples through his use of the word “therefore”. Morris argues, “because Jesus is who He is and because He has the full authority, they are commissioned to go and make disciples”. Acknowledging and obeying Jesus’ authority demonstrates the heart of Jesus’ commissioning.

Make disciples. The central verb in Matthew 28:19-20 is “make disciples.” This is not the verb “make” and a direct object “disciples”; both English words make up one Greek word, ‘make disciples’. Krentz argues “make disciples,” an aorist imperative, “is the only command in the passage”. The imperative is important because it creates a sense of urgency about discipling, yet a normal part of daily living. Matthew is the only writer in the New Testament providing a direct statement by Jesus for the disciples to make disciples.

Jesus’ disciple, as Matthew describes, differs from the common cultural definition of a disciple. The first century disciple connected to his teacher, learning from the teacher in hopes of one day becoming a teacher with his own disciples. In contrast, Jesus is commanding a total commitment to Him, a risen and eternal master, commanding the disciples to make disciples not for themselves but for Him. Disciple making demands more of a disciple than just words, it demands a total transformation “into the likeness of Jesus". “Disciple making is not a performance; it is total submission to God’s reign”.

Changing the focus from the depth of the disciples’ commitment, Jesus moves the reader to the scope of Jesus’ command. He commands His disciples to make disciples of “all the nations.” He paints the picture of the entire world. Adding support to the universal nature of Jesus’ authority, Krentz argues Jesus’ commandment to make disciples applies to the “universal realm He rules”.

Steps to disciple making. There are three participles which tell how Jesus intends the disciples to carry on the task of making disciples: “go [going],” “baptizing,” and “teaching.” Each highlights a different aspect of making disciples. Each clarifies a picture of a disciple maker. Each connects the disciple maker to the master and the family.

While you are going. The first participle is “go;” literally in the Greek means “while you are going”. This participle “go” implies making disciples is not a special event; rather making disciples is an ongoing approach to life throughout each day. The idea of “while you are going” carries strategic thinking as its foundation, strategic planning as its approach, and strategic action in its application. Continuous witnessing about Jesus’ message and doing what Jesus commands demonstrates what going means to disciples. Making disciples should be what disciples do every day, not a special event from time to time.

Baptizing. The second participle “baptizing” carries a meaning far deeper than just immersing in water. First, when baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” the word “name” is singular, not plural, implying one God with three names; critical because of Christ’s authority. Baptizing into the name means “into ownership of, into the lordship of,” linking baptism to the universal lordship of Jesus. Baptism is identifying with Christ and the new surrogate community. Essentially, baptizing provides the door for individuals to birth into a new and deep identity and relationship with Christ and the new family of God. When Jesus commands the disciples to make more disciples, He directs them to make more like they are. Jesus had spent years to make the disciples and He wanted the disciples to duplicate what He had accomplished in them. Besides baptizing

Teaching. The third participle “teaching,” follows baptizing and provides the instruction and modeling needed to know what Jesus commands and personally to know Him and love Him (Matthew 22:37-38)in way the disciple’s life might reflect Him through obedience. Baptizing precedes teaching because it brings new disciples to know Christ; into the ownership and lordship of Christ with a heart to obey.

Christ wants His disciples to learn all He intends for them to understand, and to obey all of His teaching. Jesus’ strategic design in this action will reveal itself in the lives of His new disciples significantly differing from the lives of disciples of other teachers. His disciples are not to pick and choose what commands they are to teach. Since Jesus’ teaching is a package of truth, not of menu of choices, His disciples are to obey all the teaching.

Jesus’ promised involvement. Jesus’ promise to be with his disciples every day to the end of the age contains three elements. Morris teaches the first element, “and lo” (Matthew 28:20), sometimes translated “surely” in the New International Version, draws attention to something following considered to be important. The second element “I am with you” begins with the “I am” in the emphatic first person present indicative form. Morris explains the disciples are not facing a promise Jesus will be with them just in the future, Jesus will be with them everywhere, and all the time. The third element promises Jesus’ companionship continues forever. God will continuously be with His disciples every moment of Next Pagetheir life. He was with them during their baptism and while they learned about Him, His teaching, and His love. He was with them, and will continue to be with His disciple forever and all times. Jesus never leaves His disciples leader-less.

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