Matthew 28:20a “And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Jesus hasn’t sent us to win popularity contests. He has sent us to go and teach all his commands. If we do that faithfully we can expect that we are going to step on people’s toes. We may not be the most popular or fastest growing church in town. If we do that faithfully we can expect his commands to step on our own toes on a regular basis. If his commands don’t do that, how will we see our need to repent, or our need for a Savior? If his commands don’t do that, how can we grow beyond the baby steps in faith and life that we are already taking?
But not everything Jesus has commanded is full of law and condemnation. Sometimes even the gospel, God’s gracious call to turn to him for grace and faith, comes in the outward form of a command. After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he was knocked off his horse and struck with blindness, the prophet Ananias came to him and said, “And now, what are you waiting for? Get up (command), be baptized (command), and wash your sins away (command), calling on his name.”
When Jesus wanted to leave us with the most personal and intimate way to receive and remember his saving grace, what did he say? “Take and drink (command), this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”
When the disciples preached the way of salvation to the jailor at Philippi, the gospel came out this way: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (command) and you will be saved.”
You get it, don’t you? None of these are really laws that we keep. They are not paths for us to follow to save ourselves. They are more like a sweet invitation, an offer of almost unbelievable generosity, that stirs us, and draws us, and even changes us. “Miraculous” is not too strong a word to use to describe their effect on our hearts and on the hearts of those who hear us. Certainly rejecting these “commands” would be spiritually fatal, but everything about them is more like a promise of God’s love, and the granting of a gift. With them our Savior is not adding to our labors, piling on our work load, but bringing us rest for our souls.
At any rate, this is the content of our message–all that Jesus’ commands. With it Jesus has given us all we need to tell others the good news.