When or if someone asks you, “what is more important the Resurrection or the Second Coming,” what would you say? Would it be biblically correct?
We tend to think that the prime Christian climax is yet to come, a rapture, which will not happen as many people think or the Second Coming which is yet to occur. Yes, the Second Coming will be marvelous beyond expectation or description. But, the prime climax for the Christian, and the Church has already occurred, it is all about Christ, Who He is and What He has done. Thus, the prime climax is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Risen!
The climax has already come! All of our Lord’s life and mission has reached the culmination.
The history of man, our fallen state, the move of our Lord through history and our lives have interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!
The passage of Matthew 28: 1- 20, contains the ultimate wonder of the universe—the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried.
The magnitude of Jesus’ resurrection was beyond mere comprehension; without seeing it for themselves, as Thomas asked for and received, many refused to believe. Others truly believed by faith and worshipped Him. For us, although we do not have Jesus physically showing us His hands and feet (John 20:26-28), we do have the Spirit that reveals the truth to us. Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or, the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully (Phil. 3:1-14).
This passage has classically been called, “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! Consider Jesus’ Statement here, All authority refers to Jesus being fully God, having all omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; thus, He is the ruler over the entire earth. This is also a reference to Daniel 7:13-14.
So what is our point, our climax? To ponder theories or move forward in our Christian life?
Our call here, our climax until He returns is simple, Make disciples, that is, take people under our wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Christian life (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8). (The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!)
We are called to Baptize, this meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19).
We are called to Teaching, this means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord.
All nations refers to Gentiles, as in people who are pagan and not Jewish. Jesus’ dominion is all people in all places. He is not limited to time and space! This means Christianity is to all people, Jew as well as Gentile, beyond traditions and religions, and regardless of ethnicity or birthright. Isaiah also predicted this event (Isa. 42:6; 43:10; 44:8). Christ is cross-cultural; He is for all peoples in all times. Only pride can keep a person from Him!
Observe. We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it!
What is Jesus doing? Wilting to come a second time? NO! He tells us in this Matt 28 passage, He tells us that He is….Always be with you. This is the great comfort and hope we have, we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”