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  • Alan Salwei

Matthew 28:16-20 - The Triune Commission

The Great Commission is great because of the Triune God who gave it.



 

Matthew 28:16–20 (NIV)


16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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.”

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity


All these things we know

from the testimonies of Holy Scripture

as well as from the effects of the persons,

especially from those we feel within ourselves.

--

So, in the baptism of all believers

this form was prescribed by Christ:

“Baptize all people in the name

of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Summary


Known as the Great Commission, this is one of the most well-known passages of scripture. This is a verse we typically point to for its call to evangelism, however there is a specific detail of Jesus’ words we want to focus on today. While commanding the eleven remaining disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, Jesus also states that they are to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


All three persons of the Trinity are named in relation to baptism. Notice, however, that Jesus is not commanding the disciples to baptize in the “names” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Despite each person of the Trinity being distinct, Jesus’ use of a singular term speaks to the sense that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one.



Dig Deeper


Yesterday we read from Matthew 3 on Jesus going to John the Baptist to be baptized. While we are reading about baptism two days in a row, we should note that the baptism John was administering in the wilderness was not the same as the Christian baptism Jesus commands in the Great Commission. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. While repentance is a theme that can be found in Christian baptism, the focus of the Triune baptism that Jesus commands is not so much on our actions, but on God’s promises.


Baptism is a visible representation of God’s invisible work. Just as water washes the body clean, it is through Jesus’ death and resurrection that we are made clean from the stain of sin. When you were baptized (or one day when you come to be baptized) this was done in God’s triune name. The triune nature of God is seen in how you are baptized in the name, not names, of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


The presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at this baptism is part of the biblical witness for the Trinity, helping to solidify the distinction we make that God is both one and three.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has given all authority in heaven and on earth to His Son;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that you've been baptized in the name of the Triune God and pray that you will make disciples even as your being discipled (if you haven't been baptized, reach out to your pastor so you can be!);

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Hebrews 3

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