Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
When someone is dying or leaving us, his or her last words are very important. God gave Jesus authority over heaven and earth. On the basis of that authority, Jesus left the disciples with these last words of instruction before he returned to heaven: They were under his authority; they were to make more disciples; they were to baptize and teach these new disciples to obey him.
Jesus’ words affirm the reality of the Trinity. Some people accuse theologians of making up the concept of the Trinity and reading it into Scripture. As we see here, the concept comes directly from Jesus. He did not say “baptizing them in the names,” but “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (emphasis added). The word Trinity does not occur in Scripture, but it well describes the three-in-one nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus also reminded them that he would be with them always. Whereas in previous missions Jesus had sent his disciples only to the Jews (Matthew 10:5-6), their mission from now on would be worldwide. Jesus is Lord of the earth, and he died for the sins of people from all nations.
How is Jesus with us? Jesus was with the disciples physically until he ascended into heaven, and then spiritually through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). The Holy Spirit would be Jesus’ presence that would never leave them (John 14:26). Jesus continues to be with us today through his Spirit.
We are to go—whether it is next door or to another country—and make disciples. What do you think that means for your life? How can you use your gifts to fulfill the great commission?