October 16, 2023

All Authority

Matthew 28:16-20

“Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

—  Matthew 28:19-20

John the Baptist gathered people at the Jordan River, calling them to repent of their sin and be baptized in preparation for the Messiah’s coming (Mark 1:1-8). These actions challenged the political powers of John’s day. John even called Herod, the regional leader of Judea, to repent of his sin (because Herod had unlawfully married his own brother’s wife). And eventually, Herod would behead John.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, his unique form of kingship (for example, loving enemies, caring for the poor, and speaking truth) also felt threatening to the powers of his day. And eventually, he too was executed, this time on a Roman cross. However, after three days he emerged from the tomb. No matter how powerful the leaders of Jesus’ day thought they were, they could not defeat a man who would not stay dead. Jesus was victorious over death.

Shortly before the resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven to rule as King over the universe, he told his disciples that all authority over the world belonged to him (including authority over sin, death, and evil). Bearing his authority, Jesus calls his disciples to invite people into his kingdom by baptizing them into the family of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands.

In the footsteps of John—and with the authority of Jesus—we are called to do the same. And if we are ever afraid, Jesus assures us that his own Holy Spirit is always with us.

Lord Jesus, through your victory on the cross, you established your authority over this world. Show us how we can be involved in your mission of making disciples through baptizing and teaching. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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