And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19†”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,20†”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”††(Matt. 28:18-20).
These are the marching orders of the Church. Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, we go and we make disciples of all the nations. We do this by word and sacrament. We proclaim the gospel, we baptize those who surrender to Christ, and we teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded, including eating and drinking at His table. And the promise is that as we obey Jesus in these marching orders, He will be with us to the end of the world.
Many Jews rejected Jesus and still reject Jesus because they read in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come to be a king and establish a kingdom that would grow and fill the world and all the nations would stream to it. But Jesus did not contradict these promises of the Old Testament, He merely insisted that He would reign differently then they envisioned, and that the Kingdom would grow differently than they thought. Many Christians faithlessly and functionally agree with the Jews and assume that all those Old Testament promises must have been figurative and spiritual, just talking about heaven or something.†
But Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples of all the nations. He gave us a mission of world conquest. The weapons of our warfare are the word and sacrament, His presence and His Spirit, but Jesus is our King, and His Kingdom is filling the world.
Here we are 2000 years later, on the other side of the world from that mountain top in Israel. How did we get here? How did we hear the gospel? The kingdom has come this far. The King has triumphed this far. It all belongs to Him. He bought it with His blood. And the victory has been proclaimed to us, and we believe and we are the nations streaming into the Kingdom.†
So donít slow down, do not grow discouraged. Christ has won the victory. We have heard His word, we have been baptized in His name, and here he feeds us with bread and wine. He is here with us.†
So†Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ.