The Apostles’ Commission

Key Verses: “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
—Matthew 28:19,20, English Standard Version

Selected Scriptures:
Matthew 28:16-20;
Acts 1:6-8

IN LAST WEEK’S LESSON, the risen Lord Jesus gave this message to a group of women: “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matt. 28:10, ESV) In this week’s Selected Scripture passage we read, in response to the Lord’s instructions, “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.”—vs. 16, ESV

There Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (vs. 18, ESV) Here is proof that the resurrected Jesus was no longer a man, but had been raised by God as a spirit being. Peter wrote, “Christ also once for all died for sins, the innocent One for the guilty many, in order to bring us to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”—I Pet. 3:18, Weymouth New Testament

Jesus was resurrected to the highest of all planes of existence, being given by God the divine nature. Paul wrote, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth [in the grave], and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:9-11, ESV

One special aspect of the reward given to Jesus at his resurrection is immortality, which denotes the condition of being death-proof. (John 5:26; I Tim. 6:15,16) During the present Gospel Age our Heavenly Father has been inviting those who wish to follow in the footsteps of his Son, Christ Jesus. It is a “holy calling, not because of our works,” but because of God’s “purpose and grace,” based upon the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus.—II Tim. 1:9,10, ESV

All who accept this heavenly call by consecrating themselves to God, transforming their character, and remaining faithful unto death, are promised to be resurrected as a spirit being and receive immortality. Paul wrote, “To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”—Rom. 2:7, ESV

In our Key Verses, the Apostles, and all of Jesus’ followers, are commissioned by the risen Lord to preach the Gospel in “all nations,” and to teach all that he had commanded. An encouraging message applicable to all of Jesus’ followers throughout the Gospel Age, also contained in our Key Verses, is that he would watch over this work and guide all those who are truly his servants. Earlier, Jesus’ promised his followers, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”—Matt. 18:20

During his final post-resurrection appearance, Jesus’ instructed his disciples, saying, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, ESV) This is not to convert the whole world now, but rather to be a witness “unto all nations,” and to gather out and instruct all those who desire to accept the heavenly call.—Matt. 24:14