In Part 1, I argued that the hole in our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is an oft neglected word we miss due to our focus on the other words. A 5th word that is not just as important as the other actions Jesus’ demands, but may even be THE most important.
It’s the word: BEHOLD. I’ve already talked about what the word BEHOLD means and given biblical examples of it as well as a biblical overview of it’s prevalence and therefore importance.
At the end of Part 1, I left off with the Who, What and Why of Beholding. I ended by saying that what Jesus wanted to behold was a truth. Now, I want to delve deeper into the Who and the Why, which I’m arguing are the crux of truly understanding and therefore stepping into the reality of beholding.
Behold | Who and Why?
I’m still amazed at how we (yes I) miss this idea of beholding in the Great Commission. You can even say it’s the Great Omission of our Great Commission: the beholding. And Jesus is not just demanding that we behold something; some divine and beautiful reality of truth. But, actually, Jesus demands that we behold someone; namely, Him. He says in Matthew 28:19:
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 ESV)
You see, it’s not just this objective truth statement that Jesus wants His disciples and followers to behold, it’s the divine reality of His Present Self, His Presence, His ever-present With-them reality! In essence, Jesus is saying, look and gaze upon this, “I am with you. I am. I. Me. The Great I Am, am with You. With, You.” Wow! Can you imagine what this must have been like, hearing it for the first time?
Jesus had just died a violent, bloody death 3 days before. Angels rolled the stone away from the tomb. The ladies heard the news first and ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus appears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee, as He instructed them. And His first words out of His mouth aren’t “I’m back or Here I am or I missed you guys” but rather all these demands to action: Go, Make, Baptize, Teach. It must have sounded overwhelming. Amidst their shock, joy, fear, excitement, doubt, faith and more they are hit with a barrage of demands and a great and glorious commission.
He could have just gave them these 4 actions of Go, Make, Baptize and Teach and left it at that. But instead, He sandwiches this great commission with the glorious reality of His divinity (“all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”) and incarnation (“behold I am with you always, to the end of the age”). He commissions them out of His authority and into His presence. He empowers and equips them with His POWER and encourages and sustains them with His PRESENCE. This is huge!
Any questions they may have about “yeah but how” were answered with His power and His presence. They would not be powerless and they would not be alone. They would have Jesus’ divine power and perhaps best of all His incarnational presence. His power for them and His presence with them. What else would they need?
I think this answers the Who and Why of Jesus’ demand to behold.
And I think it forces us to grapple with a few questions ourselves.
Who’s power are we going in? Do we depend on our power or Jesus’? Are we experiencing the ever-present reality of Jesus’ presence with us? Do we live as if we have His presence? Why do we feel alone or left? How does that affect our view of God, His mission and living out this Great Commission?
Continued in Part 3…