Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.
Four distinct points … just as if they were highlighted in different colored markers.
1. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
There is NO authority that is not far below the authority of Yeshua (double negative intended). No purpose of His can be withheld from Him. Yes. He works with the free-will He has given us all, but His foreknowledge is perfect and His sovereignty is absolute.
This authority includes all earthly powers (including all current). And it includes all spiritual/supernatural powers as well. He defeated death and satan on our behalf, to free us from the adversary’s tyrannical grip. He has ALL authority. Period. That authority has granted us freedom from all requirements set against us. The curse has been broken from over our lives. No intended purpose of God can be withheld from us. If He has purposed it ... it will be accomplished.
2. Base upon this authority, we are empowered to to make disciples/apprentices of Yeshua (notice He didn’t say converts).
Notice that authority is established first ... then … “Therefore, go …” While we do not often see it (because we are not looking for it or are timid about it), there are people around us, that God has prepared for apprenticeship. If we will ask Yeshua to bring to us (or send us to) those who need this apprenticeship … He will begin working out the pathways for the meeting(s).
Now, when I say apprenticeship, I mean everything beginning with the initial decision a person will make toward salvation, all the way through to growing in the knowledge and maturity of the LORD. It is up to the Father to decide 'when and where' we will be brought into the life of those He sends to us (or sends us to). Our part is simply to ask for a 'cultivation of desire' to be actively involved in the joy of the ‘relational work’.
The CJB renders the next part as “immersing them into the reality of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” which I personally love. It gets past debates about baptism and emphasizes the heart of the passage. I believe in a physical baptism, as a public, outward testimony representing an inward decision. But the heart of this passage is about being made alive in the experience of God’s presence. That is an on-going, unfolding journey in the life of an apprentice. It often starts at the moment a person calls out for salvation, then further through water baptism, but then may be further experienced in the empowerment of personal gifting, etc., etc.
The life with Yeshua is a life of experiential immersion. It is walking in the presence of God, through conscious yoking with Him and being filled daily with the Holy Spirit. These are all things we are given freedom to choose, each and every day. This is why I have often repeated that we need to invite Jesus into all that we are doing … just as an apprentice would invite their Instructor into the work being done, and asking for on-going evaluation of the work. It’s really quite a simple life-style.
Much more could be said about all this, but for the sake of an already lengthy post, I will move on.
3. "Teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you …”
We have choices. Yet, when we begin to live this experiential apprenticeship with Yeshua ourselves … the wisdom and value of His commands become so true that to live otherwise seems like foolishness. Indeed, we have learned faulty ways of living, through lies and brokenness. Some patterns of perceiving, thinking and feeling may be much more difficult to change, but a commitment to the immersed-life with Yeshua will eventually win out and overcome the stubborn habits of a destructive lifestyle. He is merciful, and His grace will provided the empowerment we need to choose more wisely.
As our own life becomes authentically transformed, we are able to teach (as an overflow of the life of wisdom within us) those who have been appointed under our care and facilitation. I use the word facilitation, because ultimately all apprenticeships are under Yeshua, the Master. Yet, we are called to share our lives, relationally with others, as a facilitated bridge, to the wisdom of a life built upon the salvation & redemption of Messiah.
4. “And remember!”
I love the way that is represented in this translation. It becomes easy to forget. The Master is always there to guide the apprentice. We have been given an eternal calling to facilitate an unbelievable weight of glory, which is to be revealed in the life of each apprentice of Yeshua. We are called to do so behind enemy lines, with the enemy as a roaring lion, whose sole purpose is the destruction of the image of God in humanity. It is a weighty and eternal calling. That is why it is so opposed. And we can feel very alone in the process, especially with the on-going developments of this evil, worldly kingdom pressing us on every side. But Yeshua says, “And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even to the end of the age.”
ALL authority has been given Yeshua. He has delegated that authority to us, for the purpose of immersing apprentices in the experiential reality of the Father, Son and Spirit. He has granted us the natural talents and spiritual gifts to do every good work that He has purposed us to do within the life-story He has penned for us.
Let’s continue to press in to our own experiential immersion with God, so that we will have an overflowing wealth of LIFE-wisdom to share with others, based upon all we have learned from our apprenticeship-learning with Jesus. The work of the Kingdom will flow naturally from our lives when our desires and understanding are personally shaped by the Master of LIFE.
Well ... a few Sunday Morning reflections ...
Something to ponder, as we celebrate ‘Labor Day’ ...