18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
Jesus now introduced the Great Commission (28:18-20).
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
There is a solemnity to Jesus’ coming to a formal place of meeting; He came to a formal, pre-established conference. He took the initiative to connect to them with a formal discourse. He did not rebuke the disciples for their disloyalty; His message was too important for that.
The word “authority” refers to freedom to act as one prefers. In Jesus’ case, He has “all” authority in all creation. He can do as He pleases in all creation.
Jesus asserted His authority as comprehensive in His resurrection power. This authority was important as He sent out His disciples to evangelize the world. Jesus still parlays this authority to those who go out on mission. This gives them poise for their mission and unlimited authority.
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
The words “has been” in the Greek indicate the Father as the person who gave Jesus this authority (passive voice). God gave Jesus complete sovereignty over the entire created order— “heaven and earth.” The authority of Jesus is the basis of this mission to the world.
This authority given by the Father to the Savior has to do with Jesus’ mediatorial kingdom, not the eternal kingdom. Jesus has authority over events, human hearts, and circumstances in creation. This includes sustaining, protecting, and enabling the church. He employs angels, circumstances, and people to reach His ends.
Christians are to know about and respond to Jesus’ sovereign Lordship over all creation.
Before Christians become active in the Great Commission, they need to understand the Lord’s sovereign authority over creation. Even ordinary people like Jesus’ disciples can make a major difference in the world when they go out under their Lord’s authority.
There is no gospel without the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is relevant to proclaiming the gospel today. Without His authority, our mission is doomed to failure. The resurrected Christ alive today is with those who proclaim the gospel in our day. Jesus does not leave us to our own formulations for this awesome task. The enthroned, risen Christ commits Himself to go with us.