April 2018

April 2018
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me"
Matthew 28.18 (J B Phillips)

This month's saying is the climax and the crown of Matthew's Gospel. It is certainly the ending of the Gospel, but it is also looking into the future - to the time when the disciples must have felt that they were going to be on their own and that they would not have the courage, the energy, the strength, the knowledge or anything to carry on the work. After the Resurrection Jesus needed to help the disciples to feel the way ahead.

In some translations the word used is 'authority' -  in this J B Phillips version, Jesus assures them of the gift of his 'power'. What does that mean? We would be wrong if we interpreted it as 'brute force'. What we are to have in our minds is divine power. That does not involve being forced to do what he wants. We are brought freely and genuinely to surrender our will to his. We are drawn into it and it is his love which has the strongest drawing power of all. It is this power of which Jesus speaks at this dramatic moment.

It was in Galilee that Jesus first encountered those who would become his disciples. Now, setting out to return to Galilee, Jesus promises to meet them there. It is there that he commissions them and promises them that he is going to be with them always.

Where did we find our own Galilee moment? A moment where we were raised and uplifted in spirit ; where we discovered the truth of the Gospel ; where we experienced the presence of the divine power?

At the same moment in Luke, Jesus gives clear instructions "Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift", and again, "You will be baptised with the Holy Spirit". Jesus also surrounds us with his loving presence which raises us up, little by little, as we walk in pilgrimage with him.

As the disciples went out to tell the good news, so we are to go out, with courage, and "make all nations my disciples", firm in the knowledge that spiritual authority and power has been passed to us. He is ready to give us everything that we need for the mission of the Church - all the energy, the courage and the knowledge that we so often feel we lack for our task.