When we make or buy a sandwich, there are two core ingredients, aren’t there, the bread, and the filling. If we didn’t have the bread, we would just have food. If we didn’t have the filling, we’d just have a couple of slices of bread, or a roll, or whatever your preferred sandwich of choice looks like. That would just been seen as mad, wouldn’t it, can you imagine…
A – “Hey, what you got there?”
B – “Sandwich”
A – “Where is the bread?”
B – “No need, just got the filling”
A – “Not really a sandwich then, is it?”
‘A’ would then probably walk away thinking they had just talked with quite the crazy person.
If this is the case for something so trivial, why do we do it with the Bible? Why do we do it with God’s Word to us. A seminary professor once told me that ‘James, bigger picture Jesus is King. When reading His Word, context is king.’ We can’t ignore the bread in order to get to what we think is the filling. When God has assembled the sandwich, so to speak, its all good, and its all relevant! Take the Great Commission for example;
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
It’s wonderful, its instructive, but it’s the filling of the sandwich. Whenever we see the word ‘therefore’, we are to do something as a result of something else.
So often with the Great Commission we focus too much on the middle part of things and forget to look before and after what we, with our fallible human minds, have decided is the important bit. Lets look either side of the Great Commission key sentence;
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What do we see?
We see that this statement comes from a very human environment – there was worship mixed with human doubt.
We that Jesus answers their doubt categorically and unequivocally – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
This then sets us up for Go, therefore. So, because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, we are to go, therefore, and make disciples of Him, baptising them in the name of the Triune God, teaching them observe all that He taught, lived, demonstrated, showed, and commanded.
Then, we see the other often-forgotten, but equally important phrase, And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We see that Jesus has all authority, therefore we are to go and make disciples in His name, and He will be there with us, always – I am with you always, to the end of the age.
The Great Commission is a truly wonderful parting speech, so to speak, given by our Lord. Let’s not miss half of it because we have decided to focus on the middle. You wouldn’t make a sandwich like that, let’s not read the Word of God, literally here the Words of God, like that!
Remember today – Jesus is King. When reading His Word, context is king.
Remember today that as we are going about His business making disciples, that we do it in His power, for His glory, and He is with us.