November 22

Text: Matthew 28:18

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”   (NASB)

This statement is a “read-over” statement for many of us.  We have accepted Jesus’ Lordship for so long that we see the statement, read it quickly, say a reverent “ho-hum,” and move along to something of “substance” that is “relevant” to life, challenges, and responses to the spiritual today.  We assume that the eleven knew immediately what Jesus claimed.  Consider a question: By what right did a dead but resurrected man who had just severely disappointed them by failing to produce the Kingdom of Israel as they expected give them orders—especially since he is around only part time?

We glibly, without thought, respond because he is the resurrected Jesus.  Really?  We marvel because they did not understand.  Really? 

The Old Testament was fiercely theocentric.  Everything, and I do mean everything, was centered in God.  “Israel, you do not worship idols” Why?  “You do not worship idols because idols are a human creation in every way unlike the God who delivered you from Egypt.”  “Israel, you follow God’s teachings to form God’s lifestyle for you.”  Why?  “You follow God’s teachings because the God who delivered you from Egypt wants YOU to be HIS people.”  In everything God was in charge.  Remember the statement in Deuteronomy 6:4, 5?  "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  (NASB)

The Gospel of John declared Jesus’ ministry was theocentric. You should listen to me because God told me what to say.  God sent me to speak His words (John 3:34).  I do only what I see the Father doing (John 5:19).  My judgment comes from God, not my own initiative (John 5:30).  I do God’s will (John 6:38).   I speak God’s commands (John 12:49, 50).  Father, glorify me so that I can glorify You (John 17:1).  I did Your work on earth (John 17:4).”  Jesus’ entire ministry was God centered—not me centered.

Then the resurrected Jesus declared that He was in charge—all authority has been given to me.  “I told you what to do as God’s representative/agent.  God directed you through me.  Now I am in charge—I now tell you what to do because I have the authority to do so.”  Note the authority was given to him.

What a statement!  Before these men listened to and followed Jesus because they understood Jesus represented God.  Now they are to be directed by Jesus because of who he is.  Now his mission has changed.  Before his resurrection he functioned as God’s agent who declared God was keeping His promises.  After his resurrection he would defeat God’s enemies.  He was enthroned on God’s right hand, not on God’s throne.  He reigns now and will continue to reign until all of God’s enemies are defeated (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  Jesus told the eleven to change the way they looked at him!

Suggestion for reflection: How do you look at Jesus?  Why?  (Read Deuteronomy 9:1-6.)

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