Sermon: King Jesus, His Authority and Commission Matthew 28:16-20

Truth Taught- Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth


In the Victorian Age in England and other places where there were castles and extravagant mansions, that employed what was known as servant bells.  These bells were part of an elaborate system of bells that were activated from different rooms of the castle. There was a bell for each room, and a label above the bell had the room’s name on it. The bell was activated by pulling a cord or a tassel in that room, the bell would ring and the servant would come to that room. 
In order for these bells to ring string had to be run from the tassel that was pulled all through the castle down and around the structure, in the rafters, down multiple stairs and through hidden places to the far away servant’s quarters.  Pull the tassel in the far away room and the bell for that room would ring.  

Why am I telling you this?  Well, this is how Matthew ends his Gospel.  I want us to see the concluding tassel and pull the cord and listen, as it were, for the bell to ring at the very beginning of Matthew’s account of Jesus.  I want to trace these cords as they run through the rafters of the Gospel pages from the Great Commission back to other parts of the Gospel.  As we do, imagine with me all that God brought about in order for all of us to be His ambassadors to go and tell the Good News that Jesus saves sinners who come to Him by faith.  Let’s see if we can ring some bells together.  

Matthew 28:16–20 (ESV) 

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

1.  Matthew Ends in Galilee, Where it All Began (28:16)

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

The Cord of Galilee…

If we pull the cord marked Galilee at the end of this Gospel, we would hear the bell ring at the beginning of Jesus’ preaching and teaching.  He called His disciples there to follow Him and to become fishers of men.  

It was Galilee where Jesus called His first disciples and where He began His public ministry of preaching and healing…

Matthew 4:18–25 (ESV) 

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. 

Galilee has special significance for them all.  So special was that place that Jesus told them after I’m alive again meet Me there.  

Matthew 26:32 (ESV) 

32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 

Jesus had not only told them to meet Him in Galilee but there was a certain mountain they were to meet.  A meeting place is important isn’t it.  Jesus told them after I’m alive again meet Me right here on this spot.  Galilee had vital significance for them, it was where it all began it was where they agreed to meet at the end.  

If your house catches on fire, its good to have a meeting place out in the yard somewhere.  So that everyone can be accounted for.  Meet right here on this spot right by this tree. 
It would be cool to have a meeting place in heaven.  No matter who goes first, let’s meet right here on this spot.

Well, Jesus had picked a certain specific place and they all agreed to meet there after Jesus was alive again.  What confidence Jesus had in His Father to make plans even after the cross and after He was placed in the tomb. 

Galilee was close to all their hearts, it was a special place for them.

2.  King Jesus Has Been Given All Authority (28:17-18)

17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

We are not told who arrived first.  When they saw Jesus, they worshipped Him.  Matthew reports that there is great worship that takes place.  His disciples now recognize Him as being more than a man.  They understand that He is, in fact, the Son of God, divine in every way and their immediate response is to worship Him.

We read here that some doubted.  This is translated in the NIV, some hesitated.  What was the problem or hesitancy? 

It’s not so much doubting who Jesus is or that He really was raised from the dead.  It’s not doubting that He is standing right there in front of them.  It’s more a doubt or a hesitancy that is “what do I do now”?

There is only one other place in Matthew where this verb is used and I think it will help us understand here…

Matthew 14:30–33 (ESV) 

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

In both cases, this verb is found to exist in the realm of worship.  Peter doubted or wondered what was he to do next, so too some of Jesus’ disciples were a little perplexed with being in the presence of the risen Son of God and didn’t know what to do in the midst of Someone like this.  Would Jesus accept them after their desertion?  How are they supposed to respond in this new and unfamiliar situation.  What sort of reception should they expect?

Here, in verse 18 I’d like to pull a cord and follow it to where it takes us…

Authority-  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…

We hear the bell ring back in Matthew 7, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount.  Those who heard Him teach saw clearly that Jesus had authority to say the things He did.

Matthew 7:28–29 (ESV) 

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. 

Now, God the Father has given to His Son complete and utter authority.  

Satan offered Jesus some authority…

Matthew 4:8–10 (ESV) 

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 

“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God 

and him only shall you serve.’ ” 

Jesus was going to be obedient to His Father no matter what.  He was not interested in anything Satan had.

Through His perfect obedience to the Father, He was given all authority in heaven and earth.  Satan offered the kingdoms of this world but by being obedient to the Father, Jesus received those and all authority.

Beloved never settle for the things of this world.  God has so much more for us.  Trust Him and follow what He tells you.  Never allow sin to trick you into thinking that it has all there is.  God has so much more for His children than this world can offer.

As we pull this cord, we hear a faint ring that echoes all the way back to the Book of Daniel.

Daniel 7:14 (ESV) 

14  And to him was given dominion 

and glory and a kingdom, 

that all peoples, nations, and languages 

should serve him; 

his dominion is an everlasting dominion, 

which shall not pass away, 

and his kingdom one 

that shall not be destroyed. 

The Prophet Daniel foresaw all this.  He foresaw the fact that the Son of Man will be granted dominion and an eternal kingdom.  Daniel saw the future and perceived that King Jesus will reign forever.  

Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and earth. 

This means Jesus Christ is Lord.  He is sovereign.  Jesus has the authority to forgive sin.  He can forgive the eleven disciples for fleeing and abandoning Him.  He can forgive their lies and their cowardly reactions.  He can forgive Peter’s I never knew the Man, why?  Because Jesus has been given all authority.  That’s the first part of what is called the Great Commission.  Jesus is in power and His reign as King will never end.

3.  King Jesus Sends Us Out to Gather His People

19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have 

commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

The Great Commission sounds very similar to some of Jesus’ Parables doesn’t it.  The Master goes away for an extended time.  The wise servant will be doing his Mater’s business while He is away.  

Jesus has just told us that He has the authority and the right to sit on the throne.  Now, He is sending out His disciples as messengers literally angels to gather His chosen elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other.  Now, at this moment in time when He is commissioning His disciples, He tells them to Go and make disciples. 

I’d like to pull another cord.  This one is All the Nations…Greek TA ETHNOS.

We hear this bell ring at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew where Matthew shows us that Jesus is connected to Abraham.

Matthew 1:1–2 (ESV) 

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 

Jesus is in the line of the Abrahamic Covenant and Jesus will be the One in which these promises come true.

Here, we hear the bell that rings all the way back to the beginning of the Bible.  We hear it ring out in the Abrahamic Covenant.

Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV) 

12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

How will all the families literally all the nations be blessed?  How is it possible for cursed people to be blessed people?  

Romans 9:24–26 (ESV) 

24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, 

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ 

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” 

26  “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ 

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” 

How is it possible for God to count the Gentiles as His people?  Jesus died for all His people.  The elect come from every nation.  The reason God can include the Gentiles is that their curse has been removed because Jesus paid for their sins when He, the innocent and sinless Son of God died for them.  

We who believe are some of the Gentiles Jesus died for.  

This cord splits and goes into the future.  Its ringing is a promise.  The Great Commission succeeds.  All of God’s people are gathered.  Jesus will have a people to worship Him through all eternity.  They are from all families of the earth.  Gentiles will take part in this wonderful event as glory is ascribed to King Jesus…

Revelation 7:9–10 (ESV) 

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

What we must understand here in the Great Commission is that what Jesus has in mind is not just salvation but discipleship.

19 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,

Our call like that of the disciples that day is to make mature believers.  The church’s task is to engage the Gospel Message and then to continue in teaching those whom Jesus saves to become mature followers.  They will in turn be the teachers and preachers and disciple makers after we are gone.

Jesus gives us one last promise… we will never be alone.

Through the pages of the Bible the promise of God’s presence is to encourage people whether prophets, apostles or disciples who feel very inadequate to go and do what they’ve been called to do.

Remember Moses’ commission?

Exodus 3:11–12 (ESV) 

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” 

Joshua 1:5–6 (ESV) 

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 

Can you do this?  NO!  Can you do this if Jesus is with you YES!

Who is there in this Church that God is calling you to disciple? 

Jesus has called all who are His to Go and make disciples…

Never forget, God is with us always even to the end of this age…

Resources Used:

Matthew by RT France

Matthew by Leon Morris

Matthew by William Hendriksen

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