Living for Jesus is like running a marathon. It is not a quick sprint to the finish line. Rather, it takes sacrifice, perseverance, and energy. This was also true for the first disciples of Jesus. They had no idea what their earthly future would hold, they just knew they had to keep going.
The Great Commission may be familiar to you, but one of the most interesting comments Matthew makes is that when the eleven disciples gathered to see Jesus, they worshiped Him, “but some doubted” (v. 17). Although we don’t know who, the word “some” connotes it was more than just one. This was not disbelief in the resurrection, for the resurrected Christ was now undeniable. Rather the word doubt here is more likely their general state of uncertainty and hesitation.
Jesus used these last moments to communicate their new mission (vv. 18–20). In the original language, the beginning of Jesus’ command in verse 19 is best understood as “Go! And make disciples!” The language denotes urgency for them to leave this place, to go beyond Galilee. In Acts, Jesus challenged His disciples to be witnesses, literally “martyrs,” for Him throughout Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Wherever the Lord would lead, they were to be in the business of making disciples.
Jesus knew their future would not be easy. The Master Shepherd knew they were fallible, after all, sheep can sometimes be stubborn, run astray, and even bite back. But the disciples could rest assured, that no matter the challenges they might face, the Lord would be with them always (Matt. 28:20). The Great Commission is our mission, too. And wherever the Lord leads you during this new year, He will be with you every step of the way.
>> Are you experiencing doubt about the year ahead? Ask God to direct your feet to go and share the message of Jesus. As you go, make disciples by pouring into people’s lives.
Please strengthen our feeble hearts and quell our fears. Give us courage to live out our faith openly, to proclaim the gospel, and to win others to Christ.