Matthew ends his book of the Bible with a very clear message: Go and Tell about the Resurrected Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the center of the Gospel message. Jesus’s resurrection proves his victory over sin and death, signaling to the world that only through faith in Him can we have forgiveness and life. Those who hear and accept this good news gain life everlasting in God and intimacy with Christ himself who bids us go and tell those who have not yet heard or who do not yet believe what we have seen and heard.
Chapter 28 begins with the Resurrection, the moment of Christ’s triumph. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are met at the empty tomb by the angel of the Lord. He is the first to give a commission. He first tells them to “come” and “see” where Jesus lay (v.6), where his dead body had indeed lain. First they must witness and experience the reality of His resurrection. Then the angel tells them to “go quickly” and “tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead” (v.7). This good news is not meant to be contained but is entrusted to them for the purpose of sharing it with others!
Along the way, the Mary’s are met by Jesus himself who again commissions them to “go and tell my brothers” to meet Him in Galilee for “there they will see me” (v.10). Mary Magdalene and Mary have witnessed and experienced the resurrected Lord. Now they are to spur others on to do the same.
Upon receiving the word from the women, the disciples journey to Galilee where Jesus does indeed meet them. Their response is worship and doubt. They are awed at their Lord who has been raised from death to life, and yet there is still the temptation of disbelief. Regardless, the commission remains the same. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” He says, affirming their faith in Him as LORD of all. “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” (v.18-20). The commands are clear: go, make disciples, baptize, teach. If Jesus did not resurrect, they would have no good news to share, no life-giving message that raises men from death to life, nothing with which to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach. But the evidence of the resurrected Christ is all they need to obey this commission. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v.20b). The task is impossible without Jesus having risen from the dead. The task is also impossible if He does not abide in them and them in Him as they go and tell. Salvation is the work of God that takes place through the obedience of Man.
Simultaneously, a sinister force works against the salvation of souls. Verses 11 through 15 document a false account about Christ that begins to circulate on account of the hardness of human hearts. Faced with the truth of Jesus’s resurrection, the chief priests and elders who challenged him and undermined him and refused to believe him continue to deny His divinity. Instead of acknowledging that they were wrong about Christ and believing that He truly is the one who fulfills the prophecies of old and saves the souls of men, they bribe men to spread lies that diminish Christ. In order for them to remain in the “right”, Christ must merely be a man. Their self-justification comes at the cost of their own souls.
The commission remains for all who claim to belong to Christ and profess Him as the resurrected LORD and Savior. Where are we going and who are we telling about the good news that saves souls and grants eternal life with God? And if we are not, we are diminishing the glory of our God and seeking the rewards of this life over the eternal. Let us consider today where our treasure lies.