“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 28:20
After Jesus sends his disciples to “Go and make disciples” (28:18), he now says to teach them to obey all of his commands. This strategy was Jesus’ plan all along during his earthly ministry. It is important to understand that this means that when disciples are made, when the Gospel is believed and men and women are baptized, the work is just beginning. There is a lifetime of teaching to grasp the commands of Jesus to his disciples.
He also makes a wonderful promise. Though he was about to ascend into Heaven to sit down at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20), he will somehow be with them forever. When he was on earth in his ministry, he was only able to be in one place at a time. But now, through his Church, he will be in millions of places by his Holy Spirit.
The Church must continue to make disciples, inviting them in to learn all the ways of Christ, including the mandate to “go and make disciples.” At “the very end of the age” we want him to find us doing just that.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 28:20
#1 “and teaching them to obey everything…”
A disciple is a student, an apprentice. If you were to apprentice yourself to a master craftsman it would be to learn his trade. You would become like him in the way you accomplish the work. But in the case of Christ, the apprenticeship is to learn his nature and to take on his character. There is no part of his ways and instruction that should be left out. God has given us his Word to gain knowledge and wisdom, and he has given us his Spirit to empower the radical transformation of our nature and conformity to his likeness.
#2 “…I have commanded you.”
Jesus taught with the authority of God the Father. His commands are not suggestions for us to consider and to pick and choose from what we like. We lay down our lives to our Master and Savior for the purpose of dying to ourselves and living unto him (2 Cor 5:15; Gal 2:20; Luke 9:23).
#3 “And surely I am with you always,”
In Acts 2 we see the fulfillment of his promise to send the Helper, the Counselor, the Spirit of God who filled them, empowering them for life and ministry. Christians are never alone because we are always with the Holy Spirit, who lives in his people. It is fine to ask “what would Jesus do?” But the better question in our lives each moment is, “what is Jesus doing?” He continues his life and ministry through each one of us and through the Church collectively.
#4 “to the very end of the age.”
The current Church Age, begun with the ascension of Jesus into Heaven, will be the last before his return. Our orders are clear, even if in his patience he waits another 2000 years for his Church to evangelize a hurting and fallen world, he will never leave us nor forsake us (Josh 1:5).
Bible Study on Matthew 28:20
Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 14-28
Biblical Translations of Matthew 28:20
“And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
“Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.