May 24, 2020
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power 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, until the end of the age.”
I was raised on a farm in East Texas, far from the ocean. But it was on that farm I fell in love with the Coast Guard. I mean, the motto was, “You have to go out – you don’t have to come back.” That sounded so much like the defenders of the Alamo, when Col. Travis said, “I will never surrender. I will not retreat.”
So, when I could, I enlisted. How could a young Texan not? It turns out i had a little over a month before i could report.
That time was spent with family a friends constantly asking when i was leaving. We knew it was coming, we talked about it, but it was still far off – until it wasn’t. As the day to leave approached, my family and i began to doubt because I would be gone.
Jesus , if you’ve been listening, has been warning this day was coming. Before Holy Week, he said he must die and be raised – and would be returning to the Father. But, that was far off.
Today, is that day.
He calls the disciples to a mountain in Galilee and when they see him, they worship him. But, they are suddenly filled with doubt because he will be gone. The realization their leader is leaving is suddenly very real.
That’s when Jesus gives them the plan.
He has been given power over all things – Heaven and Earth.
He then gives them this great work – the Great Commission – where he sends them out into the nations to preach the Gospel. And, they are to baptize all – this is the first time we hear this – in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Then he promises them he will always be with them – even to the end of the age.
He then rises up to the heavens – out of sight. They stand there looking up until a couple angels say – hey, stop lolly-gagging. Get to work.
I heard a story once that i really liked about the return of Jesus to Heaven.
Jesus steps off the cloud at Heaven’s Gate.
There, he sees St Michael, the Archangel, who asks, “Why are you back so early? I expected you’d be gone longer.”
Jesus said, “Well, I did intend to stay longer but they, well, they crucified me.”
St Michael says, “Then, your plan failed?!”
Jesus, “No. No, I taught them all they needed to know. I even stayed after my death to lay out a plan. Then I sent them, just before leaving, to convert the nations.”
St Michael thinks for just a moment. Then asks Jesus, “What if the people fail? What’s your back up plan?”
Jesus looks up with a knowing smile and says, “I don’t have a back up plan.”
My friends, do you know what that means? He has faith in us, you and me. He never considered we’d fail.
The teacher has taught. The students have learned. It’s time to get to work.
Will you join me?