Ascension of the Lord, Sunday – 24th May 2020 — Gospel: Mt 28,16-20
Disciples draw near to all People
Jesus authority over his disciples leads to a Great Commission. This commission is three-fold: make disciples, baptize, and teach. That is, the disciples are instructed to go to the nations and find followers for Jesus. The nations do not have to come to them; instead, God’s servants and also God will draw near to all people. Baptism then becomes a mark of identity or belonging as individuals and communities among the followers of Jesus. But there is more to this baptism than initiation or inclusion or even repentance, because baptism is a transformation of identity. In the baptized person the Holy Spirit now resides and cleanses the body by the purifying force of divine fire. Teaching then follows baptism, as these disciples find a way to remain faithful in a world of tests and trails. His command is not shallow evangelism, rather to become devoted followers like the first eleven disciples to live out his teachings within broader society. Therefore obedience of the disciples is intrinsic to their faith, to their discipleship, to the promise contained in baptism.