Matthew 28:18-20 states, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
There are many other verses that can, and will, be used further in this posting, but let’s begin with this verse since it comes from the Jesus’ mouth just before He leaves His disciples.
“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.”
– Properly understood, “all” means all! Jesus didn’t say “some” authority, or “most” authority, but “all authority”. By the way, “authority” is the same as power and control. In this section Jesus claims to have all authority and power under His control, whether it is in heaven or on earth.
– This statement alone has to put Him into direct conflict with Almighty God, or into direct equality with God.
– Jesus is saying, since I have all authority, I have the authority to direct your life’s direction. No prophet has ever dared to direct the lives of others in his own name. Prophets always spoke with the authority of God (“hear the word of the Lord!”) Jesus does so under His own authority, “…as I have commanded you.”. He does not direct us on the authority of anyone else, but His own.
“In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”
– Notice that there are 3 distinct persons referenced here. Notice the “the”…This use of the article tells us that we are dealing with distinct individuals. Why isn’t “Name” plural “Names”? It would only make since that Jesus should have said, “…in the Names of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
– “Name” is singular because there is only one God. Just as in the Old Testament sons were circumcised in the name of Jehovah, the New Testament disciples are baptized into His one Name, but Jesus goes on the describe that one God as “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit”. From Jesus’ on lips we hear Him describing the Trinity.
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded”
– Jesus once again claims divine authority as He tells His disciples, and us, to obey His commands. We are told repeatedly in the Scriptures to obey the Word of the Lord, and His Word only. No prophet anywhere in Scripture spoke with such authority. They never demanded obedience to their Words, but to the Word of the Lord. Jesus must be equal to God to demand our observance to His Word.
“And lo, I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
– Jesus is clearly ascribing to Himself the divine attribute of omnipresence (present everywhere). Great men of the Old Testament heard these same words spoken to them from Almighty God.
Lastly, Jesus leaves this world leaving no doubts. His meaning is clear. One would have to change the meaning (He didn’t really mean to say that. This is what he really means.) to get anything else. Since these are Jesus’ last words before ascending into heaven and leaving His disciples, I suggest we take them literally. Especially with the supporting verses that will soon be added to this posting.
The verses as promised. They will be added to in the future, but certainly enough to chew on at this point.