Go. Make. Baptize. Teach.
Go (into all the world).
Make (disciples of all nations).
Baptize (them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Teach (them to observe all I have commanded you).
Christians know these four Great Commission actions really well. (Matthew 28:20)
But do we know the 5th?
Using the art of grammatical interpretation and the mystical science of language arts interpretation, I’ve “rediscovered” a 5th action verb in the Great Commission. You too can rediscover it with me like never before.
After reading Jesus’ final words over and over again, I believe the 5th action is just as important if not the most important call of all. In fact, if we miss this 5th action leaving it out of the Great Commission, our great commission is not so great. I would take a risk and a leap and argue that this 5th action empowers us to do the other 4 actions.
Here goes. You ready?
Be-hold. What does that mean?
see or observe (a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one).“behold your king!”
synonyms: see, observe, view, look at, watch, survey, witness, gaze at/upon, regard,contemplate, inspect, eye;
Behold, Beheld, Beholding
So….when was the last time you beheld something? It’s not a word we use very often. In fact, I’m almost positive (especially here in the Deep South “y’all”) that no one in America ever uses it. Ever!
When was the last time you beheld something?
“Behold honey, I’ve done the dishes!” “Yesterday I beheld a deer on the side of the road.” “Behold at me when I’m talking to you!” No. No one says this.
According to it’s normal usage and especially the context for which we find it in Jesus’ Great Commission to us in Matthew 28, “behold” seems to carry much more weight and unique significance than merely looking or seeing something. It’s more of a looking with wonder or seeing with awe. There is a beauty attached to this type of seeing. Majesty. Glory.
It’s an incomparable sight worth taking a gander at. Not a quick glance but a long gaze. A double take. It’s like someone pausing to take in a wonderful work of art in a museum but infinitely more majestic. It’s standing on the edge of the grand canyon while it takes your breath away. It’s witnessing the aurora borealis for the first time.
It’s an incomparable sight worth taking a gander at. Not a quick glance but a long gaze.
It’s a looking that requires more than the sense of vision. It seems to be a fuller sensory experience. It’s taking in the tangible reality of something. It’s seeing with the mind. The heart. The soul. It’s looking to a depth that we feel it in our gut. We experience the raw reality of it. What starts as black and white quickly transforms to a full color experience that we can almost feel and taste. A living color.
So, what does the Bible say about “beholding”?
Behold in the Bible
What’s nearly nonexistent in our modern language shows up with much prevalence in the Bible. In fact, nearly 1100 times with 90% of that in the Old Testament alone.
From historical accounts to prophecies and stories, behold is used very often. Much of its use is an invitation by the beholder (unlike the beholdee; okay I’m making up words here but you know what I mean) to fully observe some truth or reality: look, listen, hear, pay attention, take this truth to heart, think and feel this reality, hear and remember this message.
It was used by God when He would ask His people to realize some reality. It was used by messengers or angels who had important news to bring. It was used by prophets who had revelations from God worthy of paying close attention to. It would be used to prepare the way for a story worth hearing, believing and retelling. For example:
“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Certainly, that is something worthy of beholding.
Or this example:
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
So then how did Jesus use it in His final words to His disciples and future followers?
5th Action of the Great Commission: BEHOLD
A person’s final parting words should be considered significant. But Jesus’ words to His disciples before He ascended are perhaps the most significant parting words in history.
He would speak with clarity and purpose. He gave them 5 things to do as their new mission and calling. What’s interesting is the 5th action and it’s order of placement: last.
As in “last but not least” or “save the best for last”. At least that’s how I’m defining it here. After Jesus charges His disciples to Go, Make, Baptize and Teach He leaves them with one final action that most of us miss.
Okay. We know now what behold means. But what and why does Jesus ask them to behold? The text answers for us.
Jesus Demands We Behold: Who, What, Why?
First, the what is more explicit. Jesus asks them to behold the reality that “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
Jesus is essentially saying, “Look, see, gaze upon the reality of my forever presence with you.” It’s a restating of what the Father already says to us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you”
To be continued in part 2…