Devotion for May 29, 2018

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has
been given to me. 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 28:18-20)

Many people are known for the last words they spoke. Do you recognize any
of the following?

“Et tu, Brute?” (Julius Caesar)

“We are all beggars, that is true.” (Martin Luther)

“I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” (Nathan Hale)

“Put out the light.” (Teddy Roosevelt)

“I’m bored with it all.” (Winston Churchill)

Last Thursday we celebrated the Ascension of Our Lord, forty days after
Easter. Before Jesus ascended to His Father’s right hand, He commissioned
the eleven apostles with these last words printed above. The word that Jesus
uses most is the word “all.”

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus speaks as
Lord of the whole universe. All power and authority has been given to Him.
What would you do if you had the authority to do whatever you wanted?
Jesus gives that authority away. He authorizes the apostles to speak and act
on His behalf. Instead of reigning here on earth as king, Jesus sends out the
apostles and leaves them to run things on His behalf.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” No one is left out of Jesus’
command to make disciples. Young, old, rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, Jesus sends
His apostles to all of them. Even you. The pastors who are here every week
come because Jesus has sent them to you, to make you a disciple.

“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.” The
apostles are to teach all of Jesus’ words. They are not to leave anything out.
Many of Jesus’ teachings are hard to understand, and even harder to keep.
But they all go towards making a disciple. The readings that you hear each
week will eventually take you through all of Jesus’ words.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In Holy Baptism
and the teaching of His words, Jesus is with you. Always. In time of joy and
sorrow, in times of sickness and health, Jesus is always with you because you
are baptized, and you hear His Word.

All, all, all, always. Jesus doesn’t leave anything out. You are part of that
“all.” Now is part of that “always.” Jesus last words aren’t really His last
words, because He is still here, still with us, still speaking.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for using your authority to send
your apostles to make disciples of all nations. Bless the work of all
who hold this apostolic office today, as they make disciples of all
nations, especially those who preach here in this place. Grant us faith
to trust that you are always with us, even to the end of the age.
Amen.