Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV – The “What If’s”

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The fear of the unknown is something that all of us encounter from time to time. Not knowing what lies ahead can be frightening. “If only I could know” has resounded from my mouth. If we’re going to be honest, we’ve all said that. We’ve wanted to look into the future. It’s a trust issue. We don’t want to deal with what might lie ahead especially if it will challenge us. Can you imagine what Jesus’ disciples might have been thinking? Jesus was ascending into heaven to sit on His throne and the disciples would now have to walk in faith and complete that which Jesus commanded them to do. “What if?”

Jesus gave His disciples assurance of where their help would come from. First, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth. So the power of Christ over all things was established. Second, Jesus gave them a commission; to go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe the things Jesus taught them. And finally, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, now promised to be with them to the end of the age.

That same assurance is given to us. We, too, have the promise. It’s available to all of us. But, yes, sometimes we forget. The fear of the unknown takes over. What I’ve learned is that when I find myself asking myself the “what if’s”, that’s the beginning of the fear of the unknown. “What if’s” drive me crazy. For the unknown, there are a lot of “what if’s”. When we try to look ahead to the future and realize we can’t, we rationalize the challenge ahead with “what if’s”. What if I just took on another job, then maybe I’ll have enough. What if I worked longer hours, then I know we could make ends meet. If I just do these things, I know God would bless us. Instead, what Jesus is saying is, “I’m right here. You can come to me. I will hear you. My plans will give you hope and a future.”

Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is seen in His character. He is faithful by nature. “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11 NKJV) Jesus is faithful because He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) And Jesus is faithful because He is the truth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

I’m going to be a little transparent again with all of you. Last year at this time I faced a surgery that caused me to ask the “what if’s?” What if something goes terribly wrong? What if they find something worse that they didn’t expect? What if the recovery isn’t like what they said it would be? What if my faith in my healing fails? You see, I tried to justify my fear. I forgot what Jesus said and what He promised. He gave me a commission. He placed a call on my life. He has all the power and authority I need to fulfill His calling. He has told me, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And yet, there have been times I’ve forgotten. I’m human just like everyone else. So one night just before my scheduled surgery my wife and I prayed.  Then we talked a lot about the “what if’s”. There were questions and even a few tears. And then I was reminded, so softly and gently, that when I find myself fearing the unknown, it is an opportunity to get closer to Jesus and call upon His name. I will find His everlasting love and the power of Christ will rest upon me. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your strength and Your promise to always be with me. Forgive me, Lord, when the “what if’s” take over my thoughts and I place my trust and faith in my own actions. You Lord have called me to fulfill a unique and special purpose. All authority has been given to You, Lord, and You are my guiding Light. May Your power rest upon me, Lord, I pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV – Do you believe?

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Oh Lord, thank You. Jesus charged his disciples to reach the world in the name of Jesus. What an incredible charge; blessed with a promise that He would never leave them. I’d like to share what a dear sister in the Lord. Jennifer, shared with me when I posted Matthew 28:18-20 on social media. Her reply and understanding of this scripture was a great blessing to me.

“I love this verse. If most people are like me we have always read and focused on the first part of this verse – making disciples, baptizing them, but less focus on what it says “teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you;” This part is sooooo important. So what does that mean for us? We are the beneficiaries – one of the disciples who have come from this commandment to our time today. I am one of the disciples that Jesus told his disciples to make, baptize and teach…. What did He teach His disciples to do? I’ll leave that up to the reader to look and see for him or herself. I want to do everything that Jesus commanded the disciples to do because I am one of them!”

This scripture verse is all about obedience to what the Lord commands. I have called Jesus my Lord and Savior for 15 years. His Word has taught me a lot about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. God’s Word has taught me that I can walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit. That I don’t have to worry about my own strength and power because the Holy Spirit lives and resides in me. When told His disciples, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12 NKJV), He was talking about the Power of His Holy Spirit living inside of His disciples and equipping them to do even greater things. What was the requirement to bring this to pass? “I say to you, he who believes in Me”.

That’s you and I when we believe in Jesus and call Him our Savior. Do you suppose that there would be a great change in believers if the true message of this verse would reside deep in our hearts? Not our minds, but our hearts. Do you suppose that we would have a much greater impact in serving God and His Kingdom if we only believed and were obedient? I mean, really believed and really obeyed. Do you suppose that our prayers would change to be prayers of faith spoken and declared in the Name of Jesus? Do you suppose that God would manifest His promise of greater things if we only believed? I do, on all counts.

Thanks Jennifer so much. I too, want to do everything that Jesus commanded the disciples to do because I am one of them. Friend, join me in believing and then being obedient to the commands of Jesus in His Word. Join me in praying like we’ve never prayed before, expecting and anticipating a miracle. Remember, revival starts in us. And remember this too, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Precious Lord, thank You for the promise that You will be with us always. Thank You for instructing us in Your Word so that as one of Your disciples we too, can make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that You have commanded. Help us Lord to discern those opportunities You give us and may we be obedient to Your call. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t’ believe me, believe God!