Monday, April 06, 2020

2020.04.06 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?  
The Lord Jesus had said that He Himself would build His church and that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (cf. Matthew 16:18). But now the Lord Jesus is leaving, and this group before Him is not very promising.

There are only eleven of them because one who was numbered among the disciples turned out to be the betrayer. That might dampen your confidence about the new disciples in Matthew 28:19—especially when you consider that even from among the eleven that remain, there are still some who are doubting.

But it is exactly into our consideration of these disciples, and the disciples that they are to be making, that Jesus announces that it is about His authority and power, not ours, and His faithfulness, not ours.

Jesus announces that He has authority in heaven and on earth, and a church that is in heaven and on earth. The resurrected Man before them has authority even in Heaven to pour out the Holy Spirit, for He is a divine Person. They have known since Matthew 3:11 that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Baptisms were already used as initiations into groups, and now Jesus notifies them that as He is the Second Person of the Trinity, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the church of the Triune God. He commands that the one Name (singular—one God) into which they be baptized be Triune (three Persons, whose one name is “Father and Son and Holy Spirit”). And so, our baptisms remind us that Jesus has this authority both with reference to His eternal godhood, and with reference to His finished and perfect work as the Redeemer.

When He marks of His holy assembly with this particular sign in this particular Name, we can see that He is saying: “it depends upon My power.” And when He follows by saying, “and lo, I am with you always,” we can hear that it depends upon His faithfulness. That is wonderful news for those whose weakness and unfaithfulness would lead to ultimate failure!

Jesus answers our weakness by His strength in His gospel signs and words.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we need not do anything. It rather means the exact opposite: that we must do everything. He has marked us as His own, and as those to whom He has committed His power. We ought to obey all His commands merely because we are His creatures, and then again because He has bought us by His blood, and now again because He has marked us off as holy and set apart to Him! Therefore, disciples must be taught to “observe all things I have commanded you.”

Thus, we realize that baptism is not a statement by the new disciple, but by the Lord of the disciples, through those whom He has commanded to mark and teach them. It is a mark that is displayed anew to the holy assembly, whenever it is being applied to a new addition to that assembly. In it, our Lord presents Himself and His Spirit for the worship of His people!
Who is speaking when we witness a baptism? What is He saying? How should we respond?
Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH424 “All Authority and Power”

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