Jeremiah 14 & Matthew 28

Jeremiah 14

    The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

    “Judah mourns,
        and her gates languish;
    her people lament on the ground,
        and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
    Her nobles send their servants for water;
        they come to the cisterns;
    they find no water;
        they return with their vessels empty;
    they are ashamed and confounded
        and cover their heads.
    Because of the ground that is dismayed,
        since there is no rain on the land,
    the farmers are ashamed;
        they cover their heads.
    Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
        because there is no grass.
    The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
        they pant for air like jackals;
    their eyes fail
        because there is no vegetation.
    “Though our iniquities testify against us,
        act, O LORD, for your name's sake;
    for our backslidings are many;
        we have sinned against you.
    O you hope of Israel,
        its savior in time of trouble,
    why should you be like a stranger in the land,
        like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
    Why should you be like a man confused,
        like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
    Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
        and we are called by your name;
        do not leave us.”
    Thus says the LORD concerning this people:
    “They have loved to wander thus;
        they have not restrained their feet;
    therefore the LORD does not accept them;
        now he will remember their iniquity
        and punish their sins.”
        The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

    Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

    “You shall say to them this word:
    ‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
        and let them not cease,
    for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
        with a very grievous blow.
    If I go out into the field,
        behold, those pierced by the sword!
    And if I enter the city,
        behold, the diseases of famine!
    For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
        and have no knowledge.’”
    Have you utterly rejected Judah?
        Does your soul loathe Zion?
    Why have you struck us down
        so that there is no healing for us?
    We looked for peace, but no good came;
        for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
    We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD,
        and the iniquity of our fathers,
        for we have sinned against you.
    Do not spurn us, for your name's sake;
        do not dishonor your glorious throne;
        remember and do not break your covenant with us.
    Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
        Or can the heavens give showers?
    Are you not he, O LORD our God?
        We set our hope on you,
        for you do all these things.

(Jeremiah 14 ESV)

Matthew 28

    Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

    While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

    Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

(Matthew 28 ESV)

Matthew 28: For years I looked at this commission as something delegated for those 'in ministry' and as something I should do every now and then when the timing was right. I convinced myself that the best way for me to carry out this commission was to just live an honorable life and wait for others to inquire about the hope that is in me. However, a plain reading of the text renders this sort of effort partial and insufficient. Christ has instructed us with a very basic command - as His disciples, He has commanded all of us to go make more disciples through intentional teaching of His Word. 

It's no small matter that Jesus prefaces this command with the declaration of His sovereign authority over all things. He is King, and He has graciously given us the privileged position as ambassadors of His Kingdom. To not undertake the task of making disciples is to disobey His kingly orders and to fall short of His Kingdom ambassador requirements. 

May the Spirit keep us mindful of Christ's ultimate authority, motivated to carry out His commanded assignment and thankful that He graciously offers us the assurance of His presence. Jesus, the King over all of creation, has guaranteed His presence when we carry out His orders. Therefore, committing my life to His commission guarantees I’ll experience His presence and power in my life. Is there a greater motivation to start making disciples than the guarantee of experiencing more of God's presence? So what is our excuse?