Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they say him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20 Read the entire chapter.
Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, where we remembered and celebrated the outpouring of God's Spirit upon the world in a way that had not been seen or experienced before. That Spirit that had always been present was now manifested and active in the lives of all people, brining the people of faith boldness and courage to proclaim those words, tugging and bumping at the hearts of those who were yet to process faith and inviting them into a relationship with God. So at the outpouring of that Holy Spirit and it's presence being made known, we now have an understanding or groundwork for our understanding of the Trinity. Today is referred to in the Christian calendar as Trinity Sunday. It's a day in which we acknowledge that God exists as three persons, one God, yet three persons. It's not a math equation that makes any sense to us. It's not something that we can figure out, because 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 in the scheme of the Trinity but yet in our experience in this world we wrestle to understand.
So we're going to take a little bit of time particularly looking at the Trinity in context of the Great Commission that Jesus is given. Now within this commission we have Jesus giving a number of instructions to his disciples. We end the Gospel of Matthew with chapter 28 beginning with the discovery of the empty tomb, a couple of the women being there and encountering Jesus and Jesus saying "Go and tell the others. Go to Galilee and I'll meet them there." There's a little exchange between the Pharisees and the guard that were set at the tomb but then we come to 16 where Jesus had said "Go to Galilee". Now we're in Galilee and the disciples are there and they meet Jesus. It says when they saw him, they worshiped him but some doubted. Even in the mix of that excitement and joy, in Matthew's Gospel this being the first time that we know of that the disciples actually witnessed and encountered this risen Jesus, they worshiped him and yet some doubted.
I think it's a human thing that many of us can probably relate to. Those of us who are gathering for worship in all the ways that we are able to, we gather in worship, we come in faith to worship and yet there are those times that there are things that nag at us, those doubts that sometimes creep in. But we worship nonetheless. We have that in common with the disciples. Jesus came to them and he says "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." This is the foundation, this is the framework for everything that Jesus is getting ready to tell the disciples: "All authority in heaven and earth have been given to me." Well how do we know that Jesus? How do we know that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to you?
At a conference several years ago Pastor Andy Stanley was the keynote speaker and he was talking about the role that Jesus plays in our faith. He had a line that he kept coming back to in his message that he gave that day. He said "If a man predicts his death and his resurrection and then pulls it off, maybe we should listen to what he has to say." This man, this Jesus, is the one who God sent who became flesh and blood and lived as one of us, who instructed his disciples, who did the best that he could to prepare them for all that would happen with his passion, his death, and his resurrection. Now in Matthew's Gospel, those disciples are experiencing this risen Jesus for the first time. They are seeing that one who had said that he was going to die and rise again, standing before them: something that had never happened in the history of the world before. So when Jesus said to them "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." What's the evidence? Well friends, the tomb is empty. Christ is risen. The demonstration of God's power at work in and through him. Jesus claiming that authority and he says "So, I've got authority, we've established that."