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Saturday, April 4, 2020

2020.04.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 28:16–20

Questions from the Scripture text: Who go to Galilee (Matthew 28:16)? Which mountain do they go to? Whom do they see (Matthew 28:17)? What do they all do to Him? What do some of them do? Who came and spoke to them (Matthew 28:18)? How much authority has been given to Him? Which authority has been given to Him? What are they to make, therefore (Matthew 28:19)? By what two actions are disciples made (verse 19b, Matthew 28:20)? Into what single name are they baptized? What are they taught to do with Jesus’s commands? How many of them? Who is with them always, as they make disciples? Even until when?  
When Jesus’s disciples are brokenhearted at the Passover, the Lord Jesus instituted the Supper to direct their hearts and minds unto Him, to feed spiritually upon Him repeatedly for the rest of the age.

And now, when some of them are still doubting after having seen Him multiple times (as we learn from John 21), the Lord Jesus institutes baptism to affirm to them His authority and glory (Matthew 28:18), obligate them to His service (Matthew 28:19), and assure them of His presence and power  unto the end of the age. These are exactly the things to which every single one whom Jesus adds to His church needs to commit.

Baptisms were already initiations/identifications with set-apart groups. The same had been true of circumcision. Now, Jesus initiates baptism as the mark of the church of His disciples. And what does this mark teach us?

That all authority has been given to Him in heaven and earth. He is God from all eternity. But He became a Man, lived a perfectly obedient life, died an atoning death, and rose again from the dead. His saving work as the Christ is done. His time of humiliation is over. Even in His human nature, He is now exalted. Not only over the earth. But even over heaven! He is, in His divinity, “He who sits upon the throne.” But He is also, in His humanity, the risen and ascended and exalted “Lamb who sits upon the throne.” We must trust in Him and worship Him. Faith.

Christian baptism also teaches us that we are obligated to be disciples who make disciples. If our  risen Lord is in authority generally, how much more over His disciples specifically! And what does He want them (and us) to do? Well, there is a great and primary duty: make disciples. But, there is also something else that He wants disciples to do “observe all thing that Jesus has commanded.” If the church does not teach the whole counsel of God, it is guilty of the lives of its members (Acts 20:26–27). Not all may be teachers, but all must learn. We have a duty to study in order to believe all of Jesus’s doctrine and obey all of Jesus’s commands. Obedience.

And the last big thing that Christian baptism teaches is that this faith and obedience can come only through the grace of ongoing, continual delight in and dependence upon Jesus’s fellowship. “and lo, I am with you always.”
Who is “saying something” in baptism? What is He saying? How are you responding?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH424 “All Authority and Power”

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