25 Apr. Matthew 28:16-20

25 Apr. Jesus talks to his followers in Galilee

"The eleven followers went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. On the mountain they saw Jesus and worshipped him, but some of them did not believe it was really Jesus."

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world'."

"Baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age."

          (Matthew 28:16-20)

 

 

After Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, he told his close circle of twelve disciples (minus Judas Iscariot, who had hung himself after betraying Jesus to the Jewish religious authorities) to meet him in Galilee. (see Matthew 27:3-5 & 28:10)

Matthew does not tell us on which 'mountain' Jesus asked his followers to meet him; but it's not difficult to speculate on the location as there's only one large isolated hill in Galilee that can realistically be described as a 'mountain' - Mount Tabor (see the photo).

This was the 'mountain' featured in the Jewish Scriptures (the 'Old Testament') when Deborah the prophetess and 'judge' of Israel (a leader of the Jewish people) ordered the Israelite soldiers under Barak to defeat the Canaanite army from Hazor commanded by Sisera (see Judges 4:1-24).

Some believe this was the site of Jesus's earlier 'transfiguration' where Jesus's face and clothes appeared dazzlingly bright, radiating the 'glory' (the 'shekinah' in Hebrew) of God. (see Matthew 17:1-9) If this was so, it's easy to see why Jesus might have chosen this location again - with it's vivid memories of this incident - to appear to the disciples again in his post-resurrection 'glory'.

Whether it was Mount Tabor, or the hillside on the lakeshore near Capernaum where Jesus had shared his 'Sermon on the Mount' (see Matthew 5:1 - 7:28), It's clear that the place probably had a great significance to Jesus and his followers.

Jews follow a monotheistic ('one god') religion. One of their greatest religious commands is "Love the Lord your God... You must not have any other gods except me." (Exodus 20:2-3) When asked which was the greatest of the Jewish commandments, Jesus replied, "The most important command is this... The Lord our God is the only Lord (see Mark 12:28-30).

Yet these monotheistic followers of Jesus who believed in only one true God, "saw Jesus and worshipped him" (as their only true Lord and God) (see Matthew 28:17).

How could they possibly worship Jesus and yet worship only the one true God? The answer is, they couldn't UNLESS Jesus was ALSO that one true God.

Fortunately, Jesus made it quite clear to his followers that this was exactly the situation, as he then commanded them to "make followers of all people in the world. Baptise them in the [one] name of [God] the Father and [God] the Son and [God] the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)

Although the term "Trinity" wasn't coined until some time later, this is the clearest statement of the concept of a three-fold or 'Trinitarian' God in the Bible. The followers of Jesus after his death and resurrection worshipped Jesus as their Lord and God because Jesus told them to baptise new believers in the [one] name of the threefold God - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - one God revealed to mankind in three 'persons', as our heavenly 'Father', as his earthly 'Son', and as the transcendent and ever-present 'Holy Spirit' who was to fill their lives a few days later.

To this day, Christians are baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity – the one God who is revealed to us in three ways – God revealed as our Father, God revealed as Jesus the Son, and God revealed as the Holy Spirit who lives in all those who claim Jesus as their Lord and God.

The photo (by Eliot) shows Mount Tabor in Galilee.

You can read more about Jesus's post-resurrection appearances and his 'ascension' into God's presence  @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-is-taken-into-gods…/


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