Sermon Outline On 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 some 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.”
These verses in Matthew 28 are some of the best known verses in scripture. Almost as well known as John 3:16. We call these verses the “Great Commission.” These are our “marching orders.”
This very important text gives us a hint at its significance when it tells us that the disciples are going to a mountain. It doesn’t say which mountain. That’s not important. They are going to a mountain. Important things take place on mountains. The scriptures are full of such important happenings. In the New Testament alone there is the sermon on the mount, the transfiguration, one of the temptations, and Jesus used mountains as a prayer retreat. Richard Donovan suggests the significance of the mountain is more theological than geographical, signaling the importance of this commissioning.(1)
Pay attention, people, this is an important lesson!
The clues don’t stop with “the mountain location.” Matthew says, “they worshiped him” when they saw him. “They worshiped him.” Jewish men don’t worship men. Jewish men don’t worship carved images of men. The Jewish people were particularly careful not to leave the impression of worshiping anything or anyone other than the one and only God….This one they are meeting on the mountain is far more than their earthly leader.
If that is not enough, Jesus assures them before commissioning them that his authority is over all heaven and earth. Jesus says, “I have the authority to do what I am about to do.” Jesus says, “I have the authority to commission you.”
Authority comes from different places. Police officers have the authority to arrest people given to them by the government. Our state and national representatives have the authority to make laws that is granted by the voters and the constitution.
Jesus had the authority to commission the disciples and all those disciples who followed. He has commissioned us to make disciples. So what does it mean, “to make disciples,” “to make followers of Jesus?”
Jesus closed this commission by saying, “I am with you always.”
Remember the first miracle recorded in John’s gospel. Jesus went with his mother to a wedding in Cana in Galilee. It was nearly an embracing moment when they ran out of wine. You remember the story, Jesus’ mother looked at him as if to say, “Do something.” Near by were 6 stone jars used for ritual washing. They could hold 20-30 gallons of water, but they were empty. They were empty. Remember, Jesus told the servants to fill them with water. Well, you know the rest of the story. He turned the water into wine, and the party continued.
The Jesus that transformed water into wine can transform “The Community” into “The Crowd;” “The Crowd” into “The Congregation;” “The Congregation” into “The Committed;” and “The Committed” into “The Core.” The Jesus that transformed water into wine sends missionaries to people who do not know Jesus so that they can become missionaries introducing others to Jesus. Jesus can do that! Jesus can do that, but he needs empty vessels. We call them disciples.
1. Richard Donovan, “SermonWriter for Trinity A”, e-mail service.