Is someone else claiming to be in charge? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
There’s a Christmas song describing the birth of Jesus that says that there’s a new kid in town. A look at Matthew’s gospel would of course indicate that at one point Jesus was a new kid in town, but a look at the end of the gospel would indicate that Jesus is not the new kid but rather the new king.
When we get to the Great Commission, we are told that all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Jesus. Therefore, we are to go out and do all that He has commanded. This is usually seen as something to give us assurance. As we go out telling the good news of forgiveness, we can be assured of the presence of Jesus. Now I don’t deny it includes that, but it is so much more.
The old rule of hermeneutics is that whenever you see a “therefore”, you’re to look and see what it’s there for. The text says it’s based on Jesus having all authority. All authority does not mean just to forgive sins. It means just what it says. Jesus has all authority. In an age where the disciples would have been well acquainted with Caesar and the Roman Empire, they were to know that because of the resurrection, Caesar was no longer in charge.
Instead, it is Christ who is the King and Christ is the one who rules from Heaven. His scope then reaches even further than that of Caesar and unlike Caesar, Christ is an eternal king. His throne can never be taken by another. All the Caesars would come and go. Christ would live on.
In fact, what is it that Christ tells the apostles to do? He tells them to do what He has commanded them. This is not a call to evangelism! This is a king giving marching orders! This is a charge going out that the world is to know that Jesus is in charge now and you are to be the bearers of that message! You are to go out into the Roman Empire and tell them Jesus is Lord!
Such a message would have been practical suicide, and if church tradition is to be believed, it certainly was. The Roman Empire would not have been happy hearing that they were no longer in charge. Jews would not be happy knowing nothing was said about returning them to the glory days of David and Solomon. We today consider it good news in our context. In their day, the news would have been news the people would NOT have been happy to hear.
And yet, that news still thrived somehow.
The Great Commission is still for us today and let us get something clear. Jesus is still king and He has given His orders. There is no other path that we are allowed to take. The king’s opinion is not up for debate. Many of us can hear the question about those who never heard. The best way to handle this is to make sure that they hear. We are told what we are to do. We are not told what happens if we fail in our mission. Christ has not given us a plan B. If He is our king, we are to follow His orders. If we are not, are we really seeing Him as king?