And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:20b

Written by Paul Wilkinson from the Brentwood Campus

One of the premier scandals of the Christian faith is that God’s ultimate promises is to be present with the people (Revelation 21:3). We get a foreshadow of the final state in the person and work of Jesus. Jesus is called Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And in the text for today, we see that Jesus remains steadfast in his presence.

Of the other traditions, philosophies, and religions I’ve studied, the supreme being(s) are either so transcendent that they are unknowable or so immanent that they become mere superhumans fooling around with the lives of we lesser creatures. But in the Christian faith, you an eternal person of the Trinity becoming flesh (like us) in order to save, redeem, and invite us into eternal communion with the Trinity. A God with God’s people . . . what a strange and wonderful thing.

I had never put much emphasis on the with in the text for today until a few years ago. Jason Dukes challenged me to think about how so often in our tradition, we convince ourselves that we are working for God. We trick ourselves, sometimes, into thinking that if we make disciples, then God will love us more, or maybe that since God has done some great thing for me, I owe God. But Jesus is clear in this text that disciplemaking is something we do with him. I make disciples not that God might love me more, rather I make disciples because God loves me too much already!

We do not have a God who is on the sidelines: critiquing, judging, criticizing all of our moves in life. Instead, we have a God with us. We have the privilege of joining him on the mission he’s already begun and continues to engage. We get to grow our family as we disciple those who are yet to believe. And we get to do this, not for, but with Jesus. This simple emphasis of a word certainly changed my perspective on what Jesus has invited me into. I hope Jason’s insight does the same for you.

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