We are at the end of Matthew. 28 chapters later we are listening to Jesus’ final words to His disciples. And we’ve come full circle. At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus called people to “follow” Him. And those who did were called disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. Now here at the end, He is telling these same disciples to “go.” They have spent three years following, now they are to “go” and teach everyone to do what Jesus has commanded them.
But they are never to stop worshipping. They go and they worship. Even here in this final chapter, the women and the disciples all worshipped Jesus when they saw Him after the resurrection. Giving Him the honor and glory for being Savior and Lord.
And this is our call as well. The vertical and the horizontal shape our lives as disciples everyday. The horizontal of the going, and the vertical of the worshipping. We cannot do one without the other and be a disciple.
But, why not? Can’t we be goers and not worshippers? Worshippers and not goers?
And this is my answer after all these weeks of reading and living the Gospel of Matthew . . .
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you . . .”
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men [not of God].”
We cry “Lord, Lord,” look at these extraordinary spiritual achievements I did in your name, but if what we are doing is not overflowing out of the relationship we have with him, if our hearts are far from God, our worship is in vain, our actions are fruitless, and heaven will be shut to us.
Serious business, this life of faith.
But on that mountain that resurrection day, Jesus is not asking the disciples how they feel about what He is proposing. He is not taking a poll to see who agrees or disagrees with His plan to make disciples of all nations. He does not want their opinions.
He has the authority and He is telling them — You will worship and you will go.
This was the charge to the disciples and 2000+ years later it is the same charge to us.
We worship and we go.
So, time for an honest diagnosis. As we finish our time in Matthew, consider these questions:*
1. Does your life reflect what you say you believe? We are saved by God’s grace when we believe in Jesus and put our faith in him, but biblical belief is more than something we confess with our mouths; it’s something we confess with our lives.
2. Do you think you’re on the right road because of what you’ve done? Just as dangerous as assuming that what we say alone shows that we are on the right road, is the assumption that what we do alone moves us down the narrow road.
3. Do I know Jesus and does He know me? More than He wants our acts of piety, more than He wants our adherence to religion, more than He wants our observance of rules and rituals, more than He wants our words of affection, He simply wants to know us and for us to know Him. And ultimately, if that isn’t there, all the prophesying, exorcisms, and miracles in the world won’t matter.
Jesus has made it clear what He wants from us — He wants us to worship and He want us to go.
And His promise to those who worship and go?
“I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
*questions and comments taken from, “Not a fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus“, by Kyle Idleman
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