Dear Student of the Word,
Attached is the final installment of our study of Matthew's gospel that we began last January. We will move on to study Colossians after I take a week off and then begin John's gospel after the first of the year. By God's grace, we should finish the New Testament studies next year.
Here is what I wrote on the last day of this last study:
v. 19 – I have often said that Jesus brought the disciples all the way from Jerusalem to Galilee and then told them to “go.” I often preach messages at missions conferences, one of which is entitled, “He’s Got Us Coming and Going!” I also have one by the title, “When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!” And the final one is “What Part of Go Don’t You Understand?”
Jesus told the disciples to go and they immediately went back to Jerusalem where they had to be evicted before they would heed Jesus’ words. Jesus had given them their marching orders, but they weren’t ready to go, ready in their minds, that is. They were still too tightly held by Jewish culture and custom, but over time they would go and take the gospel everywhere in the world.
Jesus was very clear what they were to do as well. They were not to meet social needs; they were to preach, teach and baptize, making disciples as they went. Jesus had taught the disciples and He then expected them to go and do the same. The focus for their teaching was to be what Jesus had taught them; not philosophy or psychology. Are you teaching what Jesus taught you through the apostles? How can you be more effective at doing so?
Paul understood this and had a body of teaching that he imparted no matter where he went. He called it “my gospel.” Paul knew that he didn’t own it; he knew that it was his to preach, that no one else could do it because it was his purpose to go to the Gentiles.
This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares (Romans 2:16).
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:10-12).
v. 20 – Jesus promised that He would be with the disciples unto the end of the age, that He would be with them as they did the work that He was commissioning them to do. What a fantastic promise! As you go, God goes with you. It doesn’t get any better than that.
So we have reached the conclusion of our study of Matthew’s gospel. Matthew ends his gospel with Jesus telling His disciples to go forth and spread the good news about Him. That hasn’t changed in 2,000 years. Jesus has made you a missionary to wherever He sends you:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Where has Jesus sent you? He has sent me to Africa mostly, with some work here in the States. It doesn’t matter where you go and you cannot compare your assignment to that of anyone else. You have your own work to do. Are you doing it?
If there is one lingering impression from our study of Matthew, it is that Jesus knew who He was and repeatedly told people, although indirectly at times. Those who wanted to know who He was would know; those who did not would be confused or unenlightened. I pray that this study has enriched your life as it has mine and I hope you will continue to read, study and gain even more insight into the greatest story ever told – that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. You can write them or find the studies to Corinthians, First Timothy and Mark's gospel on the site where this week's entry is posted. You can also go there to sign up to receive each week's study.
Plus my website archives contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse Bible studies from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, Hebrews and Revelation, along with the unpublished Faith Files.