Imagine you have a bought a ticket to hear a great motivational speaker. You walk into the long-anticipated event and the great speaker says, “I’ve got the right to tell you what to do!” How would you react? What if you could hear the only PERFECT motivational speaker there has ever been? What if you could do that for free? What would you expect the only perfect motivational speaker to say? Try this:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, Matthew 28:18b. Translation: I’ve got the right to tell you what to do! What do you do?
Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity. Only God the Father could give Him authority. Jesus’ authority is mentioned often in Matthew’s Gospel. In His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated authority over sickness (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) and demons (Matt. 4:24; 8:32; 10:1). Jesus taught with authority (Matt. 7:29), exercised authority over sin (Matt. 9:6), and His resurrection demonstrated His authority over death. D. A. Carson observes that Jesus’ authority was not new, but because of His sacrificial work on the cross “the spheres in which he now exercises absolute authority are enlarged to include all heaven and earth, i.e., the universe….The Son becomes the one through whom all God’s authority is mediated.” Jesus has the absolute right to give any command and expect obedience to it. So let me ask again. If the world’s only perfect and greatest motivational speaker begins His farewell address citing His authority, what do you do?
Jesus’ authority is the basis for the command He was about to give. Cooperation with the upcoming command is not an option. What was the command? “Go make disciples of all nations!” To borrow from the Sci-fi culture, “Resistance is futile!” Why? Because great motivational speakers tell us what the right thing is and why we need to do it. They give us the pros and cons of doing things their way.
Here is why “Resistance is futile!” When it comes to God’s commands, there is positive motivation and negative motivation. Positively, we can submit to Him and His commands and live in the blessing of that obedience. Negatively, we might also think we have an option to ‘pick and choose‘ where we will be obedient. Doing that will cause us to live under the discipline of God until our obedience is accomplished. We all know the choice we ought to make. However, the enemy makes the wrong choice sound so logical and look so appealing. When we take it, God’s kingdom is not what suffers. God’s purposes are established from the foundation of the world. God is not wringing His hands wondering if we are going to get around to being obedient so His kingdom can progress. No, He just moves on to the follower who will be obedient. The obedient follower then gets to experience the blessings we rejected for ourselves.