What does Matthew 28:20 mean?
ESV: teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
NIV: and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'
NASB: teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'
CSB: teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
NLT: Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'
KJV: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Verse Commentary:
The final verse of Matthew's gospel is also the final verse of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–19). Before ascending to heaven to be reunited with His Father (Acts 1:6–11), Jesus is defining their mission on earth as His representatives and under His authority as the eternal king.

He has told the disciples to "make disciples." This has been the primary outward mission of the Christian church ever since this day. Followers of Jesus are commanded to make more followers of Jesus. This means cooperatively teaching and training them in matters of faith. Written Scripture is an integral part of that process (2 Timothy 3:16), but it is not the entire process, itself. Jesus command was not to "make copies of the Bible," but to create disciples.

As the disciples committed themselves to serving Jesus, being trained by Him for this mission, new disciples of Jesus commit themselves to serving Him while being trained by those under His authority (2 Timothy 4:1–2). This is a lifetime commitment to the king of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus has identified two things expected of those who have trusted in Him and have committed to following Him as a disciple. The first is baptism by water. Jesus' ministry began with His own baptism. Baptism is meant to be a public declaration that one who believes in Jesus now belongs to Him. Jesus has commanded the disciples to baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now Jesus adds that obedience is expected of those who call themselves His disciples, as well (John 14:15). The disciples are to teach new believers in Jesus to observe everything He has commanded them to do. Obedience to all of Jesus' teaching is to become the standard practice of every Christian.

Finally, Jesus promises to be with His disciples always, until the end of the age. It will soon become clear that He does not mean this in a physical sense. He is about to ascend to heaven, in His physical form, to be at the right hand of God the Father. He will, however, be with His disciples in spirit, as the Holy Spirit comes to occupy all who trust in Christ on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

The word translated "always" in this verse comes from a special Greek phrase only used here in the New Testament: pasas tas hēmeras. It literally means "the whole of every day." This is then extended to all eternity with the expression h󠅍eōs tēs synteleias tou aiōnos: "even to the end of the age." Jesus' promise is to be with His followers—in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24) every minute of every day, until the very end of the present age, and the into eternal life beyond (John 3:16–18).
Verse Context:
Matthew 28:16–20 describes Jesus' commissioning the eleven remaining disciples on a mountain in Galilee. He had given them a message to meet Him there. Now He appears and commands them to make disciples from the people of all nations on the earth. He calls on them to baptize these disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They must also teach these new believers to obey everything Jesus has commanded them to do. Matthew ends his book with Jesus' promise to always be with those who believe in Him.
Chapter Summary:
An angel of the Lord descends from heaven and rolls the stone from Jesus' tomb. The guards faint. The angel sits on top of the stone and waits. Two women, followers of Jesus, arrive and are told that Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus then meets them and tells them to give the news to His brothers. The chief priests bribe the guards to say Jesus' followers stole His body. Jesus meets the disciples on a mountain in Galilee and commissions them to make disciples of people from all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey Jesus' commands. Jesus promises to be with them always.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 28 follows the dark events of the crucifixion in the previous chapter and brings Matthew's story of Jesus to a close. An angel descends from heaven and rolls back the stone. The guards faint. The angel tells two women Jesus is risen and then Jesus meets them. The Jewish religious leaders bribe the guards to lie and distribute a story that His followers took the body. Jesus meets His disciples in Galilee and commissions them to make disciples of people from all nations on earth, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all of Jesus' commands.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/18/2024 7:26:29 PM
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