Now we come to a greatly disputed part of this passage. Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

To understand it, we must ask two questions. First, What is this authority Jesus is passing on to his disciples? And second, What are we to do with it? Many churches hear Jesus telling them that the duly appointed leaders are to stand in for Jesus himself. They tell folks of their communities that they must not only obey the rules to be accepted by Jesus but also believe in the community’s doctrines in order to be found acceptable to God. As a result, many good people are being put outside the communities of God.

Notice, however, that this is not at all what our passage is saying. It clearly says this instead: Make disciples of all people and teach them to obey my commandments. And these commandments are clear: We are to love our enemies, not to judge them. We are to understand the generosity of God’s love for us and imitate the same generosity toward other people. Fred Craddock, the founder of the congregation I attend, used to say, “We only turn away those whom Jesus turned away,” meaning nobody. Our job is to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, to extend God’s grace everywhere. Separating the wheat from the chaff is most certainly not our job. A disciple’s task is to live according to the teachings of the teacher. This is the authority Jesus holds out to us—the authority not to identify and reject the unworthy but to know that in the presence of God’s love, we are all equally worthy.

Loving God, help us never to turn another person away from you by our own judgmentalism and self-righteousness. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 28:16-20

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Leccionario Semanal
June 1–7, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

Our first reading is arguably one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. Even among those who believe that God created the world, there is controversy. For example, should the days be understood as literal or symbolic? Much time and trouble have been spent in arguing about these things. A different approach is found in Psalm 8, where the author simply praises God for the majestic work of creation without needing to work out all the details. Perhaps this approach would lead to more love and peace among the people of God, as Paul hopes for in Second Corinthians. Matthew describes the ascension, where Jesus tells his followers to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, an appropriate passage in preparation for Trinity Sunday.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Genesis 1:1–2:4a. When has reading the Bible in a new way or with new knowledge changed your experience of the text?
Read Psalm 8. How do you feel called to care for the earth God has given us?
Read 2 Corinthians 13:11-13. How does your faith community heed Paul’s advice to the Corinthians? How does it fall short?
Read Matthew 28:16-20. Recall a time of doubt. How has that experience made your faith stronger?

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