It has been claimed that Oscar Wilde on his deathbed offered these last words – “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”
The expression “famous last words” is fairly familiar to most. The idea is that when you are aware that you have one final chance to say something it ought to be important or meaningful.
The Book of Matthew closes with the final words of Jesus to his disciples. Where were the disciples? How did they react when they saw Jesus? What does Jesus remind them of in verse 18? With that in mind, what does he tell them to do? What assurance does he offer?
Known as the Great Commission, this is the last command that Jesus offers his disciples. He wants them to go into the world and spread the good news of salvation. He wants them to make disciples, not just converts. He wants them to teach and train new believers to be strong in their faith.
And Jesus makes it clear that he is speaking from a position of authority when he gives this command. He also reminds them that they are not alone and never will be. Whatever they do they will be doing with the presence and power of Jesus Christ himself.
How could they refuse?
And, of course, they didn’t refuse. They believed and they obeyed. And we know that they succeeded.
But, as usual, that is not the end of the story. It’s the beginning. And that story needs to be our story.
I believe the Great Commission was intended not just for the remaining eleven disciples, but was intended for all believers everywhere. Every person who accepts Christ as Savior, every person who calls himself or herself “Christian” should obey the Great Commission. We are all called to spread the good news of Christ. We don’t all have to be preachers. We don’t all have to be teachers. We don’t all have to help the sick and injured. But we all must do something to serve God.
And we all must remember that when we do the work of Christ we are not alone. When we do ministry we do it with the presence and power of Jesus. He is with us; he is within us; he is around us. With such a presence we cannot fail.
DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to remind yourself that Jesus is with you always?