And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age
I’m one of those who has found that it is easier to talk about what it ‘means’ to be a Christian than it is to talk about what Jesus actually said. I think this is something that we can all fall victim to as we find it easier to pair our ideals and desires with lists and functions that we seek to apply to everyone. It is much more difficult to love your enemy, bless those who persecute you, and do good to those who despise you. To illustrate; in all of the sermons that I have heard about Jesus’ indignation in flipping the tables in the Temple not one has referenced the fact that those he angered that day he offered forgiveness while he hung on the cruel cross.
When Jesus spoke the words above it was difficult for his listeners to imagine what lay before them. 40 years later the city of Jerusalem would be completely destroyed. More than one Roman Emperor would send armies to the city over a 4-year period during which many Jews were slaughtered mercilessly. Eventually, the Roman Emperor, Titus, would lay siege to the city and destroy it completely.
During these 40 years the Jews who became believers were murdered and killed by their own countrymen as they shared that Jesus was the true Messiah. Their message of Jesus’ salvation for all would have caused them even more grief in the 4 years that the Romans laid siege to the city. And yet they had been tasked by Jesus with sharing through his power and his authority.
Jesus’ reminder was there to help free them and us that one currency that has been used by the Deceiver and our Accuser for centuries: fear. Fear of consumption. Fear of rejection. Fear of loss. Fear.
If you doubt the motivational factor that fear provides I would challenge you to consider some of the means that we use to get our children or maybe a co-worker or an employee to do our wishes; I’ll take away your toys, I’ll send you to your room, and on and on could go. Sure, we might actually do those things at times as punishment for disobedient children or even for uncooperative employees but many times we speak the words hoping that their revulsion to the fear will motivate them.
There is no fear in the Kingdom of God.
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”