Great Plains Daily Devotional for 9/13/2023: Matthew 28:16-20

Today please be in prayer for

Chaplain, University of Kansas Health System
Kansas City District
Reconciliation Services
Kansas City District
Chaplain, St Luke's Health System
Kansas City District
Kirkwood UMC, Missouri Conference
Kansas City District

Today's Lectionary Text

Matthew 28: 16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but they doubted. 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 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Today's Devotional

I recently heard a sermon preached using this concluding passage of the Gospel of Matthew. I was inspired by another pastor’s new take on the scripture and decided to revisit the passage for myself and my new look has resulted in this devotional. I was struck by the notion that even amongst Jesus’ closest disciples “some doubted.” This is after Jesus’ appearance twice when the disciples were gathered in a locked room; it is after his appearance on the road to Emmaus; it is after appearing at the lake and sharing a meal with some disciples; it is long after what Jesus shared with everyone on the night of the Last Supper.  

Yes, many now believed fully in the mission that Jesus had elucidated time and time again. A new insight for me is that Jesus did not exclude those who still doubted. He instead used everyone’s gifts for the good of the kingdom -- all the varying degrees of gifts and skills would be needed to bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the whole world. It is not a new insight for me that the Great Commission is to go into all the world, but I want to emphasize in this day and time, that Jesus said ALL, not some, not just those we like or who we are alike. This Great Commission is a monumental task which is imperative for the sake of the world. 

However, is it any wonder that some doubted (can we really pull this off?); that some were scared (are we crazy to oppose the Romans and Jews in power?); that some felt under-qualified for the mission (isn’t there an easier Plan B?). Whether Jesus could read the thoughts of his followers or not, I imagine Jesus might have said: Listen up folks -- there is no Plan B -- as I return to my Father, the mission is now yours -- GO and make disciples of all people, and I will be with you all the way. 

Might we need to hear this again today? It is still the same Great Commission; there still is no Plan B. It is up to us to continue the mission with the help of the Holy Spirit; to not be distracted by a thousand obstacles, of which many are of our own creation; to reach out with the love of Christ to a hurting world no matter how daunting the task. Jesus calls us all to this task.

-- Rev. Galen Wray
Retired elder


Prayer for Reflection

God of all creation, you have called us -- believers, doubters, the old, the young -- to bring the gifts we have to the task you set before us to share the Gospel to all the world. Give us strength to stay the course of Plan A -- your plan. Amen.


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