We come to the end of Matthew’s account today. It’s been a wonderful journey. I have enjoyed every moment of it. But before we leave, Jesus is going to leave us with His parting large group instructions. And even more important than that, He is going to leave us with His personal promise.
When Jesus rose from the dead He told the women who came to the tomb to tell His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee. We know from the other writers of Jesus’ history that He met them, and the women, while still in Jerusalem too. This didn’t negate His wish to meet them in Galilee though. He wanted everyone together in Galilee, His headquarters, for His final lesson. I’m assuming that there were more than just the remaining disciples present at this teaching. I believe that all the people who had been faithfully following Jesus were on that mountain top too.
Matthew tells us that in this crowd, “some doubted” (verse 17). My bible helps tells me that those doubting were probably the other people on the mountain. We know that the last holdout in Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, believed after Jesus appeared to him personally. But what if the “doubt” that Matthew is talking about isn’t doubt in Jesus’ resurrection, but in what Jesus was now calling them to do.
Jesus had sent His disciples out into the surrounding area of Israel earlier on in His ministry. The reports that they came back with were AMAZING! But now He is talking about leaving them AND sending them out again. “What if we can’t do it without Him with us?” “I’m scared. What if they try and kill me too?” “What does He want me to do?” “How am I supposed to teach others when I don’t have it all figured out myself?” “Jesus has promised to send the Helper, but what does that really mean?” All these questions and more were probably running through the minds of many in this group.
I think that might have been a big part of the doubt Matthew was noting. Jesus addresses that kind of doubt in His parting remarks. First Jesus confirmed to them that EVERY authority in Heaven and Earth had been given to Him. Nothing was left out or undone. The authority He had, He was passing on to them with His instructions.
I believe Jesus prayed for each of these men and women again, as He had done before sending them out initially. I would not be surprised at a personal and individual prayer, but He might have used a global prayer because of the size of the group. His directions were global and specific.
“Now that I have all authority, I pass it to you. With this authority you are to go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are to teach theme everything you observed while I walked with You and everything that I told you to do. I know that some of you are concerned about My absence. It is true that I won’t be physically with you, but I AM STILL with you, ALWAYS; even to the end of time. I am with you in Spirit and in the form of the Holy Spirit whom I promised you before would come to you. You have seen how I have kept every part of my word and that NOTHING I have told you has remained undone, even the most difficult things. You trusted me before. Trust me even more now.”
Jesus’ parting group instructions and promise weren’t just for those on the mountain that day. They are for us today too. We are to share what we have seen and heard. We don’t have a first person “eye witness” account to share like Matthew did, but we have MANY miracles in each of our lives that He wants us to share. We have lessons we have learned by reading His word that we are to share. And more importantly than all of that, we too have Jesus personal promise to be with us always. That alone is worth shouting about and sharing!
I have so many, “Only by the hand of God” moments in my life that I could share with you, from the time I was little right up through today. I think my greatest one is how He orchestrated this blog. I have been journaling with my bible for years! I have had so many times when I would just start writing, not even knowing exactly where I was going with my thoughts. Only to find flowing out my pen EXACTLY what I was in need of that day or some insight into the passage that I was reading. It was as if my pen had taken on a life of its own and God was speaking directly through it with the words pouring onto the paper. These amazing insights happened so often that I began to wonder if I shouldn’t be sharing what He was teaching me with others. I believe God placed a desire in my heart to do just that, so I finally compiled some of my favorite poems and writings that I received, as a gift for my family. I published, for my family only, my book “Lessons Learned on Daddy’s lap.” This was my gift of love and my attempt to share just a portion of what God had spoken into my life. I will tell you right now that it was, and still is, NOT a polished work of art, but it is my sincere work of heart.
I still had the desire to go beyond that first publishing. The first thing I did was to correct all the errors (that I found at the time) in the original book and put it back together, with a few added pieces, for public publication. I never did publish it though. Partly because of financial reasons, and also because of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear no one outside my family would really ever want to read my writings. So I put that dream/calling back on the shelf.
Enter another hard spot in my life. (Hard spots are what started me seriously writing and studying in the first place.) I was at a point of financial crisis, or so I thought. I started looking at every opportunity out there to bring additional income into our home. Because of my searching, I was approached with the opportunity to make money by blogging. I was told that if I would sign up with this company that they would provide the tools, through ads, for me to bring in an income by posting at least 3-4 blog articles a month. It sounded promising so I invested in the tools. I felt led to use my bible study time as my blog topic. They even let me pick my own web address. I chose my title by how I have always done my bible study. If I walked with Jesus was born.
As far as earning money writing this blog is concerned, that is a BUST. I have made next to nothing. I think my total to date is still under $50. But what I have gained is the avenue to share what God has been giving me. As for my financial crisis that sparked this endeavor, God evaporated it! Without it though, I wouldn’t have felt the need for change. I would have continued doing exactly what I had been for so many years.
God orchestrated the baby steps and the giant leaps I have taken along this path. He has opened, and closed, doors to get me to where I am today; doing my part in fulfilling the “great commission” message He delivered on that hill in Galilee. Only by His presence and my personal relationship with Him am I able to recognize and appreciate the nuggets of gold He puts in my pen each day. And because of His love for me, my heart’s desire is to share what He gives me with anyone who wants to read it. I force no one to adopt my views or swallow whole what I find, but I invite each one of you to continue to join me as we move day by day through His word. And we can be sure that He will continue to join us, because that’s He promises to us too.