June 2020

“… remember, I am with you always”

Matthew 28.20 (NRSV)

With so many of our leaders (both church and state) proving themselves to be deeply flawed it is perhaps worth looking at Jesus as he displays charismatic leadership. Here, at the end of Matthew 28, he is commissioning his followers and outlining their task as he leaves them. Jesus’ competence, his ability to lead, is clearly resting on the authority that he has been given. How wonderful that our allegiance goes to a leader who, in effect, is saying that there is nothing you are going to encounter that I am not in charge of. This may be vital reassurance as it becomes clear just what the mission and our main business involve.

Allied with his competence is a very clear demonstration of his warmth. The empathy he has with his disciples, and with us, suggests he is aware of our fears and anxieties and perhaps prompts this promise of his presence. If a promise is only as good as the one who makes it, then we might need to be assured of Jesus’ trustworthiness. Whilst his disciples have let him down in many ways, Jesus has always been true to his word. His final words are warm and reassuring. On the physical level this may be the last meeting. On a spiritual level it is not. Jesus’ promise that he will “remain with us perpetually regardless of circumstances and on every occasion” (Amplified Bible) is something we can rely on and embed in our hearts. Perhaps we might reflect on God’s unceasing support of us: moment by moment we are loved, chosen and invited into being. As we walk in closest intimacy with Jesus, may his presence console us so deeply that our hearts are refreshed and we in turn are freed to love in a deeper way.

As I am drawn closer, taking take this long, loving look at Jesus, it may prompt me to gently ask myself a question: “Am I representing him properly?”. His kingdom has been inaugurated. As I give my allegiance to him as King, Lord, Leader, Master and he promises his presence and support always, how is this commissioning playing out in my life and in my prayer for others?