Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
I. ITS SOURCE. The authority and commandment of Christ.
1. The authority of Christ. Jesus speaks these words after his resurrection. He is now to be exalted to the right hand of God. But his exaltation is not to a place of idle honours. It is to a throne of power. The authority which he has won by his triumph over sin and death he will now use in conquering the world.
(1) This is authority in heaven; therefore it will involve heavenly blessings - pardon, regeneration, eternal life.
(2) It is also on earth; therefore it will bring numberless blessings, and will help men here and now
2. The command of Christ. He uses his authority by commissioning his disciples to preach his gospel. The first claim of missionary work does not come from the misery and need of the heathen; it does not come from the blessings of the gospel, which it would be so well for all to share in; though here are two powerful motives. It springs from the direct command of Christ. The Church that neglects missions is disregarding the express orders of her Lord.
II. ITS OBJECT.
1. To go. The disciples are to become apostles; Christians are to be missionaries. When it is possible, the Church is to spread abroad. We are not to wait for the world to come to Christ; we are to go out into the world to preach Christ. Christianity must be aggressive, and Christians must be active in carrying the gospel to all who, have not yet received it.
2. To make disciples. It is not enough to live among the heat, hen. Many do this for purely selfish reasons. The gospel is spread by teaching. There is a teaching of great power in the true living of a Christian life. But we must add definite instruction in the truths of our faith. The kingdom of heaven rests on truth, it finds its way best through the making known of its facts and principles. It does not dread the light; it welcomes it and spreads it. Evangelistic appeals in which there is no teaching, unless they follow on good sober instruction, must vanish in the smoke of shapeless emotions.
3. To baptize. Not merely is the truth to be preached; Christ requires a confession of discipleship. He expects his people to be bound together in Church fellowship. The great central revelation about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is to be the foundation of our teaching and the bond of our union. This does not mean that we must comprehend the Trinity; it means that we must know the Fatherhood of God, the Divinity and saving power of Christ, and the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit.
4. To discipline. "Teaching them to observe," etc. Mission converts must be taught the will and commandments. of Christ - trained in Christian ethics.
III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT.
1. The living presence of Christ. We do not preach a dead or an absent Christ. We have not only to do with the Jesus of ancient history. The living Christ is with us. But that is not all. It is a mistake to detach this verse from the preceding verse, as is often the case in popular discourse. Christ is with us in our missionary work. We have no right to expect the encouragement of his presence if we do not fulfil the condition he lays down. The missionary Church is the Church that has most of Christ. The power and inspiration of missionary work is his presence in our midst.
2. The abiding presence of Christ. He is with his people in their missionary work to the end of the world.
(1) Then missionary work is to be continuous.
(2) Then Christ is with us now in this work as truly as he was with the apostles. We cannot fail with such a presence. We are to preach to all nations, and in the end all nations will be won, and "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." - W.F.A.
All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.I. THE PREROGATIVE ITSELF.
1. Its nature — "power." This means authority and ability.
2. Its extent — "all."
3. Its acquisition — "given."
II. VIEW IT IN REFERENCE TO HIS PERSONAL CHARACTER. When an individual obtains elevation we are anxious to know something of his qualities. We would not wish an ignorant, unfaithful, impatient, unmerciful man to possess power. Christ gave Himself for us; power in good hands.
III. HIS PREROGATIVE IN REFERENCE TO HIS ENEMIES.
IV. IN REFERENCE TO THE SAINTS.
(W. Jay.)I. An account of the extent of our Saviour's power; that He is invested with all power, both in heaven and earth.
II. A declaration of the original of that unlimited power and authority. "All power," saith He, "is given Me," that is, from the Father.
III. The commission He thereupon grants His disciples — "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations."
IV. The doctrine which all nations were to be taught, and into which they were to be baptized.
V. The practice of those who were to be baptized into this faith — "teaching, them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.
VI. The promise of effectual assistance to the disciples sent forth upon this commission — "And lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
(S. Clarke.)His Church: —
I. The Lord Jesus Christ is THE SOURCE OF ALL AUTHORITY.
II. THE DUTY OF THOSE COMMISSIONED BY CHRIST. To teach, not to sacrifice. To baptize.
III. The SPECIAL PROMISE which is to animate Christ's true disciples.
(R. Hibbs, M. A.)
(R. Hibbs, M. A.)
(W. Michell, M. A.)I. THE GROUNDS UPON WHICH CHRIST ADMINISTERS THIS PROVIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT.
1. It pertains to Him as the Eternal Word, by whose immediate agency the worlds were produced.
2. As the second Adam — both Son of man and Son of God.
3. By virtue of His Father's grant.
4. Acquired through suffering and death.
5. Necessary to His government of the Church.
II. THE CONSEQUENCES WHICH FLOW FROM THIS MOMENTOUS TRUTH,
1. It gives unity to history.
2. It explains to us the intermingling of mercy with providence.
3. It gives wealth of consolation to the Christian.
(B. M. Palmer, D. D.)I. THE UNIVERSAL DOMINION OF CHRIST HERE ASSERTED — "All power," etc. The word "power" in our language is ambiguous. Sometimes it signifies ability or capacity, and sometimes rightful authority. In both these senses it is true of Christ; He has both the ability to act and the authority to warrant His acting.
1. That as a Divine Person the Saviour has all power inherent in Himself.
2. In virtue of office, the power here spoken of is delegated to Christ — "All power is given," etc.
3. This power and authority extend to universal nature.
4. This power is deposited in Christ as the Head of the Church, and to be exercised for her benefit.
5. This power is to be exercised in the destruction of all who do not submit to it.
II. THE COMMISSION GIVEN BY CHRIST TO HIS MINISTERS IN VIRTUE OF THAT POWER WITH WHICH HE IS INVESTED.
1. That it is only to those who are called by God, and qualified for His service, that this commission is given.
2. This commission extends to all nations as regards the persons to be benefited by it.
3. It embraces all that the Saviour has made known in His word.
III. To CONSIDER THE ENCOURAGEMENTS AFFORDED TO THE AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR DUTY.
1. Christ is with His Church and people always; not His essential but gracious presence.
2. A particular call to notice this truth, "I am with you always." How highly is Jesus exalted.
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