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It’s the Great Commission. It’s your main focus when you open the last chapter of this epic Gospel, but there’s so much more. “Go therefore…” ends our journey that began at His birth. In between, we witnessed His baptism in the Jordan and heard the delighted voice of His Father from heaven. We watched His release into the wilderness to be tempered by fire, and had a front row seat at the launch of His ministry—the kingdom of heaven was indeed at hand. It wasn’t long before His ragtag collection of students were assembled, His would-be disciples, some of whom we come to know quite intimately on their travels. And Matthew’s Gospel is stippled throughout by prophetic moments, each seemingly marked by a grand sermon, mysterious parable, deep lesson, supernatural encounter, or stiff admonishment. Along the way, we realize we are all kingdom scribes getting a kingdom education, but some don’t like it! It’s undeniable, yet somehow people in certain positions do deny it. Extraordinary miracles occur, so outrageous that they can only be explained one way. Y’shua is the Son of God, the Christ!
We learn that He has a plan; He is going to pass His ministry onto others! But why? Is He going somewhere? He tells them over and over again that He is; but they don’t like it, so they avoid it, even deny it. But, it’s inevitable! He makes many enemies as He moves about, but really there is one most relevant; a power-hungry class of religious hypocrites. They still exist today and they’re not who you think. You can spot them because they build their own kingdoms. Then and now there is one satanic antichrist spirit at work. It hates what He is doing and that His reputation is growing. You’d think religious leaders would be thrilled; He’s the Messiah. But they’re not! He’s steeling the spotlight; attracting their donors; exposing the induration of their dark hearts; calling them hypocrites; and the majority of these religious elite are not ready to relinquish power, to surrender their man-made religious system.
As time goes on, He further clarifies who He is and what He will be, and what we will be in Him. And the clearer it becomes, the more resistant are those who have the most to lose—power, fame, fortune and control. And Y’shua meets their escalating denial and aggression with a move of His own—He becomes more brazen, more pointed, more intolerant. Gentle Jesus gives way to a full exposé on hypocrisy. Then, He seals the deal with His final two lessons. One is about the end-of-the-age, who to be and how to prepare—from the Mount of Olives. The other is about the age-to-come, what it will be like and how to get there—at His last meal.
Finally, the powers that be have had enough and they conspire to murder Him, to do whatever it takes to eliminate Him. Nothing is off limits; lies, false witnesses, unproven accusations, even the willingness to partner with a pagan Roman system to get what they want; it’s all on the table. Then they kill Him. They capture Him, and indict Him, and convict Him, and torture Him, and they murder Him. But it does not end there! The truth cannot be denied. Or can it? Even after He resurrects from the grave, even after the stone is rolled away and He is not there—He is risen; they conspire to tell yet another lie. “He has not risen; He’s been stolen.”
I take a deep breath and try to imagine the level of hatred; the level of self-righteous, self-serving narcissism; the vile incessant vitriol; the acid tongues and acid hearts that would not only deny the final obvious fact—He has risen; He is the Christ, but that they would instead master-mind the greatest coverup in human history. Humans can deny the obvious; that itself is obvious! Just tell more lies, spread more deceit, offer more bribes—hatch one more conspiracy. To this very day some people still believe it was all just a conspiracy. That is why we must go make disciples; preach that He has risen, and preach that we must become different because of it. We are meant to become just like Him!
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