December 21, 2022 | Cynthia McCall
About the author: Cynthia McCall has been married to Brian for over 35 incredible years. They have four adult children, two of whom are married. The married couples each have one child and one on the way. During this Advent season, the family is excitedly awaiting the arrival of grandchild number three, due any time! :~) In an unexpected turn of events, Cynthia is both a grandmother and a graduate student. She has one month left to finish her Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Pastoral Care. Great celebration will be had when that endeavor is accomplished! Cynthia and Brian have been back at ZPC for six years. She is a member of the Adult Discipleship Team, the Worship Team, and the Intercessory Prayer Team. She wishes all of you a blessed Christmas season.
‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
These words of Scripture came from the mouth of Jesus. They are some of the last words he spoke before ascending to heaven. We must take note of them. His word, “Therefore,” indicates that what was said is a result of something mentioned just before this statement. This leads us to wonder what came previously. Verse 18 says,
Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’
THAT is a pretty important “Therefore!” Jesus, this babe in a manger we are getting ready to celebrate, IS the one who was eventually given ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth. Bible Commentator, R.T. France, wrote, “It is this universal sovereignty that is the essential basis of the commission….”
There is also another thing that is striking in the second part of verse 19. Jesus is commanding us to baptize all nations in a triune name. This is the first time that Jesus tells his disciples to pray using the Son’s name in the mix. France wrote, “A profoundly important theological step has been taken here….For ‘the Son’ to take his place as the middle member, between the Father and the Holy Spirit…is extraordinary. The human leader of the disciple group has become the rightful object of their worship.” Therefore, we need to pay attention to the words of our Scripture today. They are weighty and they are for us.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
This may seem like a daunting task and yet, France wrote, “the words [Jesus] utters will leave [the disciples’] failure far behind, swallowed up in the much greater reality of the mission to which they are now called. The disciples’…role is to listen, to understand, and to obey.”
His disciples then, and we now, need not do any of this in our own strength. We do it through the strength and authority of Jesus. We get to leave our failures far behind too! We get to be a part of the Great Commission! Therefore, go, not in your own strength, but in the strength and authority of Jesus to do what he says.
In your time of silence, pray, asking Jesus to direct you to one person with whom he would like you to strike up a conversation during this festive time of celebrating his birth. Let Jesus guide the conversation. The triune God will do the heavy lifting. Just be present to talk. Who knows? You might just witness their baptism one day.
Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thank you for your love. Thank you that your love came down as a baby. Thank you that as Jesus took our sins on the cross, he was given authority over all things. Thank You, Lord, that we get to be a part of your plan for this world. Therefore, give us discernment to know who to talk to, and courage to be present and speak your words. May we be used to bring more disciples into your kingdom, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, 7th Edition, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007). eBook, section IV.