“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” - Matthew 28:20 (NIV)
What a promise, right? It’s reassuring, comforting, and may even give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to think that no matter where our lives take us, we will never be alone; That God will be right there, watching and keeping us.
But we have a tendency to cherry pick the Bible, just like we did with this verse.
You see, there’s more to this passage than just a nice promise. Let’s back up to verse 16:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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.” - Matthew 28:16-19 (NIV)
This is the other part of the story - the work required in exchange for that promise. Here we read about the disciples receiving the Great Commission from Jesus.
Imagine, for a moment, how important this promise was the the disciples. They were being asked to go out into a world that did not readily accept Christ, and share his gospel. They were facing torment, ridicule, and potentially even persecution. Although the disciples were dedicated to Jesus, they were still human and very well may have been worried or frightened at this prospect.
This promise was more than just comforting words to them. It reassured them that whatever lay ahead of them, they would not face it alone, so long as they were carrying out the commission.
Jesus makes it clear that the commission and the promise are not separate things - that one comes with the other.
This opportunity wasn’t exclusive to the disciples. That same promise is available for you and I, but the job is for you and I too. We are called to “go” and “make” and “baptize” and “teach” - to take action for Christ. And when we take on that journey, God goes with us every step of the way.