Gospel Text: Matthew 28:16-20
Dear friends in Christ, Grace and peace to you from God the Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!
So, today's Gospel lesson comes from the last chapter in Matthew's Gospel. Now, if you're going to finish a lesson or a letter, you want to be able to tell the people at the end “now go do this.” Assuming that they've been listening, the “now go do this” will be what you have been teaching them to do. In today's lesson, we have a sort of graduation for the disciples. Now, Jesus is giving them a graduation speech, and telling them what to do next. So let's take a look.
Now, after Jesus had been raised from the dead, the disciples were called to Galilee to have a meeting with Jesus. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Don't worry, Thomas, you're not the only disciple who doubted. Jesus came to them and told them that all authority on heaven and on earth had been granted to him. Because of this, the disciples were to go to all nations, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything that Jesus had commanded them. Also, remember, Jesus is with them, to the end of time.
Now, earlier, I mentioned that this was a graduation ceremony for these disciples. And while they didn't have caps and gowns, they did have a good speech to send them on their way. Now, Jesus had spent three years with his disciples, and they got to see and hear it all. When Jesus did miracles, they were there. When Jesus taught, they were there. And when Jesus died and rose again, you'd better believe that they were there. And standing here now in Jesus's presence, they again see the mystery and the power of Christ, now fully incarnate standing before them. And so, Jesus, having all the authority of heaven and earth, gave power and responsibility to the disciples to go and create the church. Now, the church that we have today is due to a number of changes, disagreements, and reformations. But that is the nature of the church, constantly changing to better help the needs of our neighbor, and to serve as God's hands and feet in the world.
Now, while this was a graduation speech for the disciples, it's also a message for all of us today. This morning, we celebrate Trinity Sunday, the Sunday in which we celebrate the three persons of the Trinity, that is: God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sustainer. Now, if you were to be asked on a test how it is that God is both three parts as well as one whole God, the correct answer would be “I don't know.” It's okay to say that there are some things about God that we do not know yet. That is okay. But if you want to know the history of our faith, past, present, and future, look at the trinity:
In our children's message this morning, we heard about God the Creator, and the wondrous acts that God did in creating the world. In six days, the world and everything in it was created, and on the seventh day, God rested. But because sin entered the world, all of humanity is suffering. We can see the effects of sin happening all over the world, in every heartache and tragedy. But God created a way for us to not only understand God better, but also as a way for us to live eternally, and that way is through belief in Jesus Christ. Christ came to the world to redeem humanity, and through his sacrifice and death on the cross, and resurrection, God made all things new. And after his resurrection, God gave us another advocate, which is the holy spirit, to help guide us and keep us connected to God. It is through this Holy Spirit that we can come to know everything that God has done for us in Jesus, and that we can continue to pass the blessing on to others. So there we have it. In the past, God created and everything in it. In the present, we bring Christ's message of hope and salvation to those around us. And in the future, the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us and the church as a whole in the work of God.
Dear friends in Christ, today's lesson is a graduation for all believers. Jesus Christ, who has been given all authority, has given us the call to go out into the world, to make disciples of all nations, and to teach them to observe everything that God has commanded us. Because of who God is, we can be who we are. Now, like a school class about to graduate, do we know everything? Certainly not! But we do know what we need to know. We know that God so loved the world, that God gave us Jesus, and that the Holy Spirit now dwells within us. And we know that God has commanded us to love God above all else, and God has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, here is your commission. Go. Make disciples of all nations. Teach them to love, as you have been loved. Keep coming back to church to learn more, and to be in community with others. Keep praying for others. Pray, read the bible, and continue to grow.
And so, graduating class of Eternity, it is by Jesus Christ, from whom all authority comes, that you are able to be these people in the world. Go in peace, thanks be to God. Amen.