Jesus' last words
Whenever someone is given an opportunity to share some last words with their family or closest friends, they use that precious moment to highlight some of the most important things that they want their loved ones to know and remember. In Jesus’ last words to his first followers, he gives what could be considered a summary statement of what Jesus-followers truly are and what Jesus-followers are expected to do.
Many people who associate themselves with Jesus and his church need to examine their lives based on these last words of Jesus.
The following five points made by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 provide us with a solid foundation for what every Jesus-follower ought to be and what every Jesus-follower ought to be doing.
- Jesus is King
- Making Disciples is Our Mission
- Be Baptized and Baptize Others
- Obey and Teach Others to Obey
- God is With Us
Jesus is King
Jesus begins by declaring, “All authority in this world has been given to me.”
After being raised from the dead, Jesus was given his position of absolute authority over all of creation and began his reign as the King over God’s eternal kingdom. A kingdom that has infiltrated this world and continues to grow today, two-thousand years later. Every follower of Jesus ought to acknowledge that Jesus is the King who is ruling over human history, and we ought to live our lives under his ultimate authority.
This means that Jesus is the one who calls the shots in our life; not us.
If you call yourself a follower of Jesus then are you respecting and living under his ultimate authority as the King who is right now reigning over all of creation?
Does he define what’s right and wrong in your life or do you still try to call the shots in your life?
Do you realize that you are now his ambassador of his kingdom and are you representing Jesus with integrity to the rest of the world?
Making Disciples is Our Mission
After appealing to his ultimate authority as the King, Jesus continues by calling us to, “Go make disciples of ALL nations.”
Jesus initiated a movement that is reconciling people back into a right relationship with God and restoring the world back into being like it was intended to be. This was the mission that he modeled, taught and passed on to his first followers. And since then, every follower of Jesus has been expected to embrace this mission by helping to make more disciples of Jesus.
This means that we have a mission in life; we don't get saved and just wait for heaven.
If you call yourself a follower of Jesus then are you willing to devote your life to this mission?
Are you actively showing the world the way of Jesus?
Are you working hard, having fun while you do it and doing it for the common good and the glory of God?
Are you serving the world with your gifts and sharing how Jesus has changed your life?
And are you urging people to learn a new way of life and a new way of thinking about the world based on the life and teachings of Jesus?
Be Baptized and Baptize Others
Jesus goes on to talk about the mission of making disciples by telling us to, “Baptize others in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus is not looking for half-hearted association with him and his church but rather a whole-hearted allegiance that leads his followers to die to who they have been and to become the new kind of men that Jesus has taught us to be. The proper response to Jesus’ love for us is a total commitment to him and the global community of Jesus-followers. And so every follower of Jesus ought to swear their allegiance to Jesus by being baptized and looking to baptize others.
This implies that we are sharing our story and the good news about Jesus with others; we will never baptize anyone who hasn't heard the gospel.
If you call yourself a follower of Jesus then have you been baptized — swearing your allegiance to Jesus as King, identifying with his death and resurrection and walking now as a new man remade in the image of God?
And are you reaching out to others on behalf of Jesus urging them to be reconciled to God and to be baptized as well?
Obey and Teach Others to Obey
Then Jesus adds, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
A whole-hearted allegiance to Jesus also means that our lives will now be governed by everything that Jesus taught and commanded. We are not supposed to just sit and learn what Jesus taught; we are supposed to actually go and obey what he taught.
As his disciples, we are to be learners, but we are learning a new way of life. The goal is not to just know more about the Bible. Every follower of Jesus ought to be obeying the things that Jesus taught and then helping to teach others how to obey him as well.
And so, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus then are you living a life that is governed by the teaching and the commands of Jesus?
Have you been taught and trained in how to actually obey the commands of Jesus?
And are you actively teaching others how to observe the commands of Jesus and to live like he taught us to live?
God is With Us
And then finally, Jesus concludes with this incredible promise, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of time.”
From the moment that he was born, Jesus was known as being "God with us". When we give our lives to Jesus and devote our lives to his mission, we are guaranteed to experience more and more of his presence and power. Every follower of Jesus ought to be incredibly encouraged that God is with us, and that he’s going nowhere no matter what.
Are you absolutely so sure of this promise that it has changed your life?
Do you believe Jesus when he makes this promise?
How does this promise make you feel and how will this change your life going forward?
Jesus is our King. Making disciples is our mission. And his constant presence and power with us is his promise. This is the DNA of every true follower of Jesus.
And so based on what Jesus taught in his last words to his first followers, we must examine our own lives and ask ourselves:
"Do we want to be what Jesus wants us to be, and do we want to devote our lives to doing what he wants us to do?"