“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Today’s verse passage contains what is commonly known as the Great Commission, Christ’s marching orders for the church. When we consider seriously the magnitude of our Lord’s commands to His church—worldwide evangelism and discipleship—we might become overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. How can the true church, historically a persecuted minority, hope to accomplish such an enormous task? We praise our Lord, Who declared Himself the absolute Sovereign of heaven and earth, for His promise to come alongside us in the work. In Paul’s remarkable epistle to the Ephesians, he explained that Christ’s redemptive work abolished the Old Covenant Law, which resulted in peace between God and man, Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:15-16). This message we heard and believed to the saving of our souls. But how did we hear? Paul explains that it was our Lord Himself who “came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh” (Ephesians 2:15-17). Christ alone accomplished the work of redemption (Hebrews 1:1-3), but He chooses to work in and through His people to accomplish the work of evangelism and discipleship. The Lord’s promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) is especially precious when we consider our own frailties and limitations. How comforting it is to know that there is nothing in the created order that can separate us from God’s love and abiding presence (Romans 8:35-39). I remember being in a church in which one dear saint was battling a harsh and degenerative disease that quickly robbed him of his strength and motor skills. Coming to church was a challenge for him and his wife but they made the effort because it gave him so much joy. During service one time he lost control of his faculties and his wife and another dear saint took him to the restroom to clean him up. I was shocked to hear one of the elders complain about this, insisting that it would be better for everyone if that man stayed home. I felt more sorry for that elder, who thought that awkward and difficult circumstances somehow chase away the presence of God. On the contrary, God’s presence is manifest most powerfully when we are at our weakest. He is with us always, in our homes, on the mission field, yes, even in emergency rooms and hospital beds. He is our Comforter and Guide, even unto death (Psalm 48:14). Praise God for His faithful, abiding presence!
God bless you,