“Emmanuel’s Reprise” – Matthew 28:16-20


October 23rd,  2016

Matthew 28:16-20

 (see also: Mk 16:14-18; Lk 24:36-49; Jn 20:19-23; Acts 1:9-11)

“Emmanuel’s Reprise”

Aux. Text: Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; 4:13

Call to Worship: Psalm 100

 

Service Orientation: All authority has been given to Jesus.  Therefore, we are to invite everybody, everywhere to be immersed in the character and attributes of the Triune God so that everyone might be who God designed and created us to be.  Like Jesus.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. — Philippians 3:20-21

 

Background Information:

  • We do not know for sure how much time passed between Jesus’ appearance to the women on Easter Sunday and his appearance to the Eleven in Galilee. We do know that Jesus appeared to various people in various places over a period of 40 days before he ascended into heaven (see Acts 1:3).  It may well be that this incident took place near the end of those 40 days.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 440)
  • Rabbis in the first century had followers who desired for the Rabbi to lead them to a better understanding of Torah and thus become a better disciple of God’s Word. Jesus, on the other hand called disciples unto Himself.   He taught them to have a better understanding of the Kingdom of God and Himself as King and thus become a better disciple of Himself.  Jesus called people to come and be like Him.
  • (v. 16) This mountain at the conclusion of our Lord’s life corresponds to the mountain of temptation at the beginning. There he was offered the empire of the world, if only he would take the easy lower path; here he is acknowledged King of the world because he took the hard one of obedience unto death.  — F. B. Meyer
  • (v. 17) Doubt about Jesus’ resurrection is expressed elsewhere (Lk 24:10-11; Jn 20:24-29), but only by those who have heard reports of Jesus’ resurrection without actually seeing him. This verse is therefore unique.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 593)

(v. 17) The word for doubt (distazo) can also mean “hesitate.”  So the sense could be that everyone first worshiped, but then some hesitated.  That is, they “doubted” that the man they’d just worshiped was actually Jesus (maybe his appearance–his resurrected body–was altered in some way), or they “doubted” if it was right, as good Jewish monotheists who held to the creed that there is one true God, that it was proper to worship the man Jesus.  Or perhaps the nature of their doubt was initial unbelief because it was all so unbelievable.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 910)

  • (v. 17) Many solutions have been offered with respect to this problem. Could it be that the most simple one is also the best, namely, that at first this mysterious person appears to them from a considerable distance?  He then steps closer, and the doubt disappeared, though this is not recorded in so many words.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 997)  
  • (v. 17) That simple phrase inserted by Matthew is but one of countless small and indirect testimonies to the integrity of Scripture. In transparent honesty, the gospel writer sets forth the incident as it actually happened, with no attempt to make it more dramatic or convincing than it was.  As he portrayed Jesus in His divine perfection, he also portrayed Jesus’ followers, including himself, in their human imperfection.

Those who attempt to write history to their own liking are inclined to magnify that which is favorable and omit that which is not.  Had Matthew and the other gospel writers contrived Jesus’ resurrection, they would have made every effort to exclude any fact or incident that would have tarnished their case.  Nor would they have hesitated to falsify evidence and distort the truth.  A person who lies about something of major importance has no scruples about telling lesser lies to support his primary deceit.  Matthew’s simple honesty testifies both to his own honesty and to the integrity of God’s Word.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 337)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why does Matthew wrap up his Gospel with these statements from Jesus?   

 

Answer:  Because Jesus has been given all authority we are commanded to invite people to become disciples:  people baptized into God so we might be who God created and designed us to be.  In His image:  like Jesus.

 

When we study the Great Commission, we notice that the word all occurs four times, though this is obscured in some versions:  (1) Jesus possesses all authority, (2) he sends us to all nations, (3) we are to teach people all he has commanded, and (4) as we do, we are to know that Jesus will be with us all the days, or always.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 646)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Disciple

 

The characteristics of Christian discipleship are, from the world’s perspective, are the marks of losers.  The characteristics of the ungodly are the marks of those who have made it.  (Alister Begg; A Christian Manifesto – Part 2: a sermon by from Luke 6:20-27)

 

What is Jesus telling us before He returns to heaven?:

I-  Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.  (Mt 28:18; see also: Isa 9:6-7; Dn 7:13-14; Jn 3:35; 17:2; 1 Cor 15:27-28; Eph 1:20-22; Phil 2:9-10; Col 1:17-20)

 

When we put Christ’s announcement in that context, we sense that he is not merely talking about an acknowledgment of his earthly authority in heaven.  Rather, his authority is superior to and over all other authorities whether spiritual, demonic, or otherwise.  His resurrection proves his authority over any power that can possibly be imagined.  Consequently, we do not fear Satan or anyone else while we are engaged in Jesus’ service.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 647)

 

No one is outside the sphere of his authority or is exempt from his call.  On the other hand, this is also a statement of Jesus’ ability to bring fruit from our efforts, for it is through the exercise of his authority that men and women actually come to believe and follow him.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 647)

 

II-  We are commanded to make disciples from all people everywhere.  (Mt 28:19a; see also: Gn 12:1-3; 18:18; 22:18; 1 Chr 16:23-24; Ps 18:49; Isa 42:10-12; 49:6; 66:19; Mk 16:15-16; Lk 19:10; Acts 1:8; 1 Tm 2:4; 2 Pt 3:9)   

 

Where is our faith if we neglect this duty?  Where is our love?  It may well be questioned whether people know the value of the Gospel themselves if they do not desire to make it known to all the world.  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 293-4)

 

“Making disciples” means instructing new believers on how to follow Jesus, to submit to Jesus’ lordship, and to take up his mission of compassionate service.  To be a disciple means entering a relationship of learner to Master (Teacher) with Jesus.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 577-8)

 

In this commission we learn that the Jewish disciples who had followed Jesus through the days of his ministry and who were being commissioned formally to his service were not to limit their operations to Judaism, as we might expect, but were to go to all the people of the world with this gospel.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 648)

 

The NT Greek word translated as “disciple” comes from a root that means “learner.”  By definition, a disciple is someone who never stops learning.  A true disciple makes the most of the hundred billion brain cells God has put on loan to him.  A true disciple loves more because she knows more.  A true disciple is consumed with holy curiosity that doesn’t take yes for an answer.  The disciple keeps asking and seeking and knocking.  And the quest is never over because the questions never end.  (Mark Batterson, Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, 107)

 

Whenever the church has done this (evangelized) it has prospered.  When it has failed to do this it has stagnated and dried up.  Why?  Because discipleship demands evangelism; it is an aspect of our obedience as Christ’s followers, and Jesus blesses obedience.  If we are following Jesus, we will go to others for whom he died.  A disobedient church is one that does not evangelize, begins to dry up, or even dies.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 648)

 

“To disciple a person to Christ is to bring him into the relation of pupil to teacher, ‘taking his yoke’ of authoritative instruction (11:29), accepting what he says as true because he says it, and submitting to his requirements as right because he makes them” (Broadus).  Disciples are those who hear, understand, and obey Jesus’ teaching (12:46-50).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 595-6)

 

If God’s primary purpose for the saved were loving fellowship, He would take believers immediately to heaven, where spiritual fellowship is perfect, unhindered by sin, disharmony, or loneliness.  If His primary purpose for the saved were the learning of His Word, He would also take believers immediately to heaven, where His Word is perfectly known and understood.  And if God’s primary purpose for the saved were to give Him praise, He would, again, take believers immediately to heaven, where praise is perfect and unending.

There is only one reason the Lord allows His church to remain on earth:  to seek and to save the lost, just as Christ’s only reason for coming to earth was to seek and to save the lost.  “As the Father has sent Me,” He declared, “I also send you” (Jn 20:21).  Therefore, a believer who is not committed to winning the lost for Jesus Christ should reexamine his relationship to the Lord and certainly his divine reason for existence.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 333)

 

Matthew’s Gospel is now, in its final verses, returning to the theme introduced in the very first verse (see on 1:1)–that the blessings promised to Abraham and through him to all peoples on earth (Gn 12:3) are now to be fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah.  And when that covenant promise is reiterated in Gn 18:18; 22:18, the LXX uses the same words found here:  panta ta ethnē.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 596)

 

It is very clear from the story of the non-Jewish wise men (2:1-12), who came to worship the newborn King, and from such other passages as 8:11, 12; 15:28; 21:43; 22:8-10, that from the very beginning the evangelization of the world was included in the purpose of God.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 999)

 

Nothing so much glorifies God as His gracious redemption of damned, hell-bound sinners.  It was for that ultimate purpose that God called Abraham, that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gn 12:3).  It was never the Lord’s intention to isolate Israel as His sole focus of concern but rather to use that specially chosen and blessed nation to reach all other nations of the world for Himself.  Israel was called to “proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day” and to “tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (1 Chr 16:23-23; cf. Ps 18:49).  Like her Messiah, Israel was to be “a light to the nations so that [the Lord’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa 49:6; cf. 42:10-12; 66:19; Jn 3:1-10).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 332)

 

The great mission of the church is to so love, learn, and live as to call men and women to Jesus Christ.  As sinners are forgiven and are transformed from death to life and from darkness to light, God is glorified through that gracious miracle.  The glory of God is manifest in His loving provision to redeem lost men.  He Himself paid the ultimate price to fulfill His glory.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 332)

 

III-  We are to immerse these disciples in all the character and attributes of the Triune God through all of Jesus’ commands.  (Mt 28:19b-20a; see also: Ps 119:160; Lk 14:27, 33, 23-26; Jn 8:31; Acts 20:27; Eph 2:10; 2 Tm 3:14-4:5)

 

The authority that has been delegated to him by the Father he now delegates to his disciples.  “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (Jn 20:21).  He gives them the authority and responsibility to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the triune God and by teaching them to obey everything he has commanded.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 442)

 

Instead of striving to teach all Christ commanded, many are trying to eliminate as much of his teaching as possible, concentrating instead on things that are easily comprehended and unobjectionable.  But a core such as this is distorted.  It is usually grace without judgment, love without justice, salvation without obedience, and triumph without suffering.  The motivation of some of these reductionists may be good:  They want to win as many people to Christ as possible.  But the method is the world’s, and the results will be the world’s results.  Robust disciples are not made by watered-down teaching.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 649)

 

A disciple is someone who has said to Jesus, “Teach me to live my life as if you were me”.

 

If converts are attracted on the basis of satisfying self-interest, it will be difficult to change this into the daily cross-carrying that is a characteristic of authentic discipleship.  People are likely to continue on the basis on which they first came. (Eddie Gibbs; Church Next, 50)

 

This is the whole of Christianity, “To draw people to Christ and to make them into little Christs.”  — C. S. Lewis

 

We cannot expect men to come to maturity in Christ in a classroom environment.   Although reading, study, sermons, and classes can help, these academic exercises cannot penetrate to the hidden places in a man’s heart.  But discipleship can, because it’s teaching by example.  Christ didn’t hand out a study guide; He demonstrated a life pleasing to God.  His example, even more than His words, produced eleven men who shook the world.  That is why a man who has sat in church for thirty years without much life change will be suddenly transformed after going on a mission trip.  Men are changed by what they experience, not necessarily by what they are told. (David Murrow;  Why Men Hate Church, 34)

 

Jesus never begged anyone to follow Him.  He never waited for anyone, never sang one more verse while people decided whether to follow.   He barked, “Follow me!” and kept going.  Those who immediately dropped everything became His disciples; those who hesitated were left behind.

Yet week after week, especially in evangelical churches, we beg men to be saved.  Problem is, the call to be saved is so familiar, men see no value in it.  Don’t misunderstand me:  it’s vitally important that we call men to follow Jesus.  Men need salvation.  But instead of pleading, what if our approach was:  “Do you have what it takes to follow Christ?  (David Murrow;  Why Men Hate Church, 163)

 

If we were to ask many so-called Christians what should be done in our day to win the world for Christ, it is likely they would talk about literature campaigns, the use of radio and television, the founding of seeker-sensitive churches, recruitment of workers, and how to raise funds.  In other words, most of the discussion would center on methods rather than on content.  By contrast, Jesus spoke about teaching his commandments.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 649)

 

It is necessary that we do these good works (as Christians in all ages have), for unless we do we have no assurance that we are really Christ’s followers.  Like Jesus himself, Christians are to stand for justice and do all in their power to comfort the sick, rescue the outcast, defend the oppressed, and save the innocent.  We are also to oppose those who perpetrate or condone injustice.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 650)

 

“Give up your old way of life, and trust me for a new one.”  Jesus then calls those who have repented and believed to “follow” him.  Similarly, in Jesus’ day a disciple would give up his own plans in life to follow and live with a rabbi, learning the Torah and all the rabbi’s ways.  In choosing these words, Jesus gives an invitation that is familiar to his Jewish hearers:  “Come.  Be with me.  Learn from me.  Give up your own way of life.  Do what I do.  Learn to live as I do.”  However, though these words in one way are quite familiar to the first-century Jews who hear them, in another way they are strange.  For Jesus is much more than a rabbi:  he is Lord and Christ.  The lives of those who choose to hear and follow Jesus are not to center in the Torah, but in Jesus himself.  His disciples are to give full allegiance and devotion to him.  Few images express more vividly the total commitment and absolute loyalty Jesus demands:  loyalty to God’s kingdom is expressed in loyalty to Jesus.  (Craig G. Bartholomew & Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture, 136-37)

 

But just what is meant by “make disciples”?  It is not exactly the same as “make converts,” though the latter is surely implied.  See on 3:2; 4:17.  The term “make disciples” places somewhat more stress on the fact that mind, as well as the heart and the will, must be won for God.  A disciple is a pupil, a learner.  See on 13:52.  Also, see on 11:29 for words related to it in the English language.

The apostle, then, must proclaim the truth and the will of God to the world.  It is necessary that sinners learn about their own lost condition, God, his plan of redemption, his love, his law, etc.  This however, is not enough.  True discipleship implies much more.  Mere mental understanding does not as yet make one a disciple.  It is part of the picture, in fact an important part, but only a part.  The truth learned must be practiced.  It must be appropriated by heart, mind, and will, so that one remains or abides in the truth.  Only then is one truly Christ’s “disciple” (Jn 8:31).  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 999-1000)

 

All of Jesus’ disciples were learners required to “abide” in His word (Jn 8:31, 32).  This meant not only that they were to listen to what He said, but they were also to adopt His teaching as their way of life (Lk 6:40; Jn 15:7, 8). (Merrill C. Tenney; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol Two D-G, 130)

 

The revolutionary new world, which began in the resurrection of Jesus–the world where Jesus reigns as Lord, having won the victory over sin and death–has its frontline outposts in those who in baptism have shared his death and resurrection.  The intermediate stage between the resurrection of Jesus and the renewal of the whole world is the renewal of human beings–you and me!–in our own lives of obedience here and now.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 249)

 

To be His disciple was in a literal-way to be His follower.  (Note: the verb “to follow” occurs about eighty times in the gospels, and exclusively describes the relationship between the earthly Jesus and His companions.  It became a synonym for disciple.)   This meant, therefore, that every disciple in the strict sense had to leave his occupation (Mk 1:18, 19), his father and mother (10:29), everything (10:28), take up his cross and go forward even to death (Mt 10:38). (Merrill C. Tenney; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol Two, 130)

 

For the disciple of Jesus, however, discipleship is not a first step with the promise of greater things to come.  It is the fulfillment of his destiny.  This is so only because he is the disciple of Jesus.  He is called by Him and believes in Him.   Whereas the rabbinical student hopes in some sense to master the Torah, it is the business of the disciple of Jesus to be stamped and fashioned by Him.   (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 448-9)

 

The nature of the calling of the disciples of Jesus, and their resultant dependence on Him, means that there is nothing in the life of disciples which is apart from Jesus and His life.   With all they have and are they are drawn into fellowship with Him.  But the way of Jesus leads to the cross.  Hence entry into His fellowship as His disciple carries with it the obligation to suffer.  (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 449)

 

Godless ministers are the real cause of the decline of the church in spirituality. They have been in all ages. The purest light shining through a colored medium, becomes colored.  Worldly, timeserving preachers promote a worldly religion.  They may multiply converts; but their converts mold the church more than the church does them.  Constantine secured a greater accession to the church than the apostles did, but the church to this day has not recovered from the idolatrous spirit and heathenish practices which his converts introduced.  It was at this period that the worship of saints, the doctrine of purgatory, and the celibacy of priests, had beginning in the Christian church.  They were borrowed from heathen Rome.  (B.T. Roberts; Fishers Of Men, 39)

 

Discipleship was initiated by Jesus (Mt 4:19, an exception being Lk 9:57), and involved a commitment to His person even more than to His teaching.  (Note: to criticize Jesus’ disciples was to criticize Jesus, Mk 2:18, 23, 24), and to remove the teacher was to destroy the community of disciples, Mk 14:27, 50).   (Merrill C. Tenney; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol Two, 130)

 

Disciple is the usual word for “apprentice”.  (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 416)

 

The relationship between Jesus and His disciples is always presented in the tradition as unique.   It is wholly personal, whether as the relation of Jesus to the disciples or as that of the disciple to Jesus.   The factor on which the whole emphasis lies is exclusively the person of Jesus.  As it is He who finally decides whether a man enters into discipleship, so it is He who gives form and content to the relationship of His disciples. (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 445)

 

From the standpoint of the Easter experience of the disciples it is quite natural that his disciple could not be content merely to transmit his teaching but had to be His witnesses, i.e. witnesses to the revelation disclosed in His person, whether or not Jesus Himself ordained them as such (Lk 24:48; Acts 1:8).  (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 446)

 

In the Gospels, then, the disciples are witnesses, not bearers of a tradition.  This is no accident.  It necessarily results not merely (positively) from the significance which attaches to His person in fellowship with Him (→445) but also (negatively) from the attitude which Jesus Himself adopted towards religious tradition and the principle of tradition.  (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 454)

 

To baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit affirms the reality of the Trinity, the concept coming directly from Jesus himself.  He did not say baptize them into the “names,” but into the “name” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  While the word “Trinity” does not occur in Scripture, it well describes the three-in-one existence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (See also Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 12:4-6; 2 Cor 13:14; Gal 4:6; Eph 4:4-6; 2 Thes 2:13).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 578)

 

Jesus tells us to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  This means we are to preach the entire message of Jesus without embarrassment and without compromise.  We are neither to add to it nor to subtract from it (see Rv 22:18, 19).  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 444)

 

This truth (The Trinity) is a great mystery.  Let it be enough to receive and believe it, and let us always abstain from any attempt at explanation.  It is childish folly to refuse assent to things that we do not understand.  We are poor crawling worms of a day, and know little at our best about God and eternity:  suffice it for us to receive the doctrine of the Trinity in unity, with humility and reverence, and to ask no pointless questions.  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 295)

 

IV-  Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us all of our days, but will empower us to become all that God designed us to be:  Created in His image.  (Mt 28:20b; see also: Dt 31:6-8; Ps 37:28; 94:14; Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23; Jn 14:15-25; 15:26-27; Rom 8:28-29; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 4:13; Phil 3:21; 1Thess 4:17; 2 Thess 2:13-14; Heb 2:6-10; 13:5; 2 Pt 1:4; 1 Jn 3:1-2)

 

Since God knew them in this way he planned that they should be shaped to the likeness of his Son.  Jesus is the likeness or “very image” of God (2 Cor 4:4; cf. Col 1:15).  Man was originally made in God’s “image” and “likeness” (Gn 1:26) but lost that likeness, as he also lost the “splendor” (3:23), by his sin.  As a member of the new humanity in the fully restored New Age, he will regain both the likeness and the splendor which Jesus already possesses.  This does not mean that the Christian will be the same as Jesus:  the latter will retain his unique position as being the eldest among a large family of brothers (cf. 8:17), and the Christian only receives the likeness and splendor through Jesus.  (Ernest Best, The Cambridge Bible Commentary: Romans, 101)

 

Whatever happens, they at least are never completely friendless and alone:  Christ is always with them.  They may look into the grave and say with David, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps 23:4).  They may look forward beyond the grave, and say with Paul, “we will be with the Lord for ever” (1 Thes 4:17).  He has said it, and he will stand to it:  “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb 13:5).  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 296)

 

What Paul is saying, then, is that God’s plan for us began in a decision to enter into relationship with us.  This led, in turn, to his decision to “predestine” us.  As the English verb suggests, this word (proorizo) simply means to direct a person to a particular goal (the verb also occurs in v. 30; cf. Acts 4:28; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:5, 11).  Paul spells out the goal:  “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”  The last stage of Christian existence is to be “conformed” to Christ’s own glorious body (see Phil 3:21).  God enters into relationship with us so that we may attain that goal.  (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans, 270)

 

If believers want to know what God is like, and what they by his grace will become, they must look to Jesus Christ (Eph 4:13; Phil 3:21; Col 1:15).  Salvation is God’s personal, eternal plan to make believers conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (v. 29).  The NT normally refers to Christians as believers, disciples, slaves, apostles, sheep, etc., but in this rare passage (Rom 8:29) they are called brothers and peers of Christ!  As the firstborn among many brothers Christ desires to share his glory with believers in a sibling relationship.  What is more, believers will actually be peers of God, for, as Christ is the image of God, and believers are the image of Christ, believers will one day inherit their original image restored by Christ (Gn 1:26; also Heb 2:6-10).  (James R. Edwards, New International Biblical Commentary: Romans, 218)

 

Eikōn is used of Christ as the very image of the Father (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15).  See Phil 2:6f. For morphē and eikōn to express the gradual change in us till we acquire the likeness of Christ the Son of God so that we ourselves shall ultimately have the family likeness of sons of God.  Glorious destiny.  (Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV, 377)

 

Paul presents two aspects of this conformity.  By a sharing in the sufferings of Christ (Phil 3:10) that is based on having the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5-8), the believer is gradually being made into his likeness.  This is the essence of sanctification.  Its second and final aspect is conformity of the body to that of the risen Lord, to be realized at the resurrection (Phil 3:21), which is the culmination of a growth in likeness to Christ based on the Spirit’s work in the believer (2 Cor 3:18).  (Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10, 98)

 

Worship Point:  Worship the God of the Universe Who through Jesus wants to give us so much more than eye has ever seen, or ear has heard, or mind conceived (Isa 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9; Eph 3:14-21).  He is patient, gracious, forgiving, merciful and loving with us in spite of our doubts (Mt 14:31; 28:17; Lk 24:38; Jn 20:27; Jude 1:22).

 

When you doubt, don’t be discouraged.  It’s not a sin nor a failure.  It’s a normal part of spiritual growth.  Keep talking with thoughtful Christian friends and teachers, keep studying and praying, keep serving the Lord, and keep asking questions and looking for answers.  God gave you a mind to discover his truth.  Don’t let anyone tell you that discovery is wrong.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 576)

 

Gospel Application:  We . . . are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18b)

 

Christ is the one who has the keys of death and hell; Christ is the anointed priest, who alone can absolve sinners; Christ is the fountain of living waters, in whom alone we can be cleansed; Christ is the Prince and Savior, who alone can give repentance and forgiveness of sins.  In him all fullness dwells.  He is the way, the door, the light, the life, the shepherd, the altar of refuge.  “He who has the son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:12).  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 293)

 

Irenaeus, a disciple of the apostle John, becomes our guide in his five-volume work Against the Heresy of Gnosticism.  The oft-quoted first clause of one compound sentence reads, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.”  But the less-quoted second clause reads, “and the life of the human consists in beholding God.”  (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 48)

 

Spiritual Challenge: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  (Mt 28:19-20)

 

So What?:  To follow Jesus means to become like Jesus.  He defeated death and Satan and was given all authority so others might have life. Go and do likewise.  (Mt 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21; Mk 1:17; 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; Lk 5:27; 9:23, 59; 14:27; 18:22; Jn 1:43; 10:27; 12:26;14:6; 17:2-4; 16:33; 21:19-22)

 

The disciple leaves everything to go after Jesus (Mk. 10:28; cf. 1:18; Lk. 5:11).   This implies, however, that “follow me” signifies self-commitment in a sense which breaks all other ties (Mt. 8:22; Lk. 9:61f).   The disciple does what the pupil of the rabbi does, externally in the same forms as the latter, but internally in attachment to Jesus.  Hence the word still has the sense of discipleship, but in relation to Jesus it acquires a new content and impress.  The exclusiveness of the NT use arises from the fact that for primitive Christianity there is only one discipleship and therefore only one following, namely, the relationship to Jesus. (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol I, pgs. 213-214)

 

CHRIST:

EMMANUEL

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