To get a clear understanding of what is going on in this portion, let’s read Matthew 28:16-18, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Let’s also read Mark 16:14, “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”

This is the closing scene of the Lord’s physical presence on the earth. Of course, this happened after His death, burial and resurrection. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts all give an account of this event and the Lord’s ascension into Heaven. It’s important that we first consider the Lord’s rebuke to His eleven apostles because of their unbelief. (Judas had hanged himself – Matthew 27:5). They did not believe those who had already seen the risen Savior. Let’s read Mark 16:9-13, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, BELIEVED NOT. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: NEITHER BELIEVED they them.” Mary Magdalene and the two from Emmaus had both bore witness of the Lord’s resurrection, yet they did not believe them.

When the Lord appeared to the disciples, He used the scriptures to assure them that His resurrection was prophesied. We read in Luke 24:44-48, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.”

It was necessary that the Lord addressed this issue of unbelief to His disciples because He was about to send them out into the world as witnesses of His death and resurrection. HOW COULD THEY HELP OTHERS BELIEVE WHAT THEY WERE NOT CONVINCED OF? Now let’s consider the words of the Lord to His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Before the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, He had limited the disciples work. We read in Matthew 10:5-6, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO NOT INTO THE WAY OF THE GENTILES, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” After the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection, He widens their sphere of service to “all nations”. Now they were to tell the world about the salvation that is free to all through faith in the Lord Jesus. To “teach” all nations literally means to “make disciples” of all nations. This is accomplished through the proclamation of the Gospel. After that, the converts should be baptized and taught to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” With that, the Lord promises His presence. As we read in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” As the Lord sends us out into the world to be a witness for Him, He goes with us, never to leave or forsake us at any point.

Of course, when we are saved, we then have the privilege and responsibility to share the truth with others as Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (255.6)