The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Caitlin Shewell-Cooper. Caitlin is from Nottingham and works in publishing (?)

Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'


These verses form the last encounter of Jesus and the disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. The disciples haven't yet seen the resurrected Jesus, and have gone to a mountain in Galilee as instructed by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.

I can't imagine the conversations before they journeyed, or en route to the Galilee mountains. We don't know how they travelled, but it's a 35 hour walk. A 35 hour walk to see your friend who apparently has risen from the dead? It must have seemed like a fool's errand.

In other Gospels we get scenes of Jesus ascending into Heaven, but if the books of the Bible were novels, Matthew almost feels a bit unfinished plot wise.

What did Jesus look like on the mountain? How did they find him tere? Where did they go afterwards?

We don't know, but we do know what they did do once they saw him there: "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted"

I've never noticed this little sliver of doubt in this extract before, as we mostly focus on the 'great commission' that Jesus gives.

Reading it again, I found it incredibly refreshing. A reminder that the disciples were real people, humans who had just seen one of their best friends brutally killed; another had taken his life after betrayal and they had travelled up a mountain on the hearsay of other friends.

Even as Jesus stood before them, they doubted what they were seeing. But... they still worshipped. Through the turmoil and confusion they chose to try and look to Jesus and worship him. And because they did they heard one of the comforting statements in scripture:

"I am with you always, to the very end of the age"

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