Teaching them to observe all things - Men are ignorant of Divine things, and must be taught. Only those can be considered as proper teachers of the ignorant who are thoroughly instructed in whatsoever Christ has commanded. Persons who are entrusted with the public ministry of the word should take care that they teach not human creeds and confessions of faith, in place of the Sacred Writings; but those things, and those only, which Jesus has commanded.
And, lo, I am with you alway - και ιδου εγω μεθ 'ὑμων ειμι πασας τας ἡμερας - literally, Behold, I am with you every day. A minister of Christ should consider, that while his soul simply and uniformly follows Jesus, he shall be made a constant instrument of bringing many sons and daughters to glory. The dark, it is true, must be enlightened, the ignorant instructed, the profligate reclaimed, the guilty justified, and the unholy sanctified; and who is sufficient for this work? He with whom the Son of God is Every Day, and none other.
Unto the end of the world - Some translate, ἑως της συντελειας του αιωνος, to the end of this age; meaning the apostolic age, or Jewish dispensation; and then they refer the promise of Christ's presence to the working of miracles, and explain this by Mark 16:17-19. By my name they shall cast out demons, etc., etc. But though the words are used in this sense in several places, see Matthew 13:39, Matthew 13:40, Matthew 13:49; Matthew 24:3, yet it is certain they were repeatedly used among the primitive ecclesiastical writers to denote the consummation of all things; and it is likely that this is the sense in which they are used here, which the Anglo-Saxon has happily expressed: - And I, be with you all days, until world ending; and this is indispensably necessary, because the presence and influence of Jesus Christ are essentially requisite in every age of the world, to enlighten, instruct, and save the lost. The promise takes in not only the primitive apostles, but also all their successors in the Christian ministry, as long as the earth shall endure.
Amen - This word is omitted by some of the oldest and most authentic MSS., and by some versions and fathers. When it is considered that the word amen simply means so be it! we may at once perceive that it could not be added by our Lord. For our Lord could not pray that his own will might be done, or his own promise fulfilled. The word is, therefore, utterly impertinent as a part of the sacred text, and could neither have been added by our Lord, nor by the evangelist. The amens at the end of the sacred books have no other authority than what they derive from the transcribers of copies; and, at best, are only to be considered as the pious wish of the writer, or of the Church, that the promises contained in the sacred volume may be accomplished. Indeed, it seems often to have no other meaning than our finis at the end of our books.
In the MSS. and versions there are various subscriptions, or epigraphs, to this Gospel: the following are the principal: -
"The Gospel according to Matthew - written by him in Jerusalem - in Palestine - in the east - in the Hebrew dialect - in Hebrew - eight years after the ascension of Christ - interpreted by John - by James the brother of the Lord."
The subscription in some copies of the Arabic version is very full: "The end of the copy of the Gospel of Matthew the Apostle. He wrote it in the land of Palestine, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in the Hebrew tongue, eight years after the bodily ascension of Jesus the Messiah into heaven, in the first year of the reign of Claudius Caesar, king of Rome."
These are sufficient to show how little credit should be attached to the subscriptions found at the end of the sacred books, either in the MSS., or in the versions.
Lo, I am with you - That is, by my Spirit, my providence, my attending counsel and guidance. I will strengthen, assist, and direct you. This also proves that Christ is divine. If he is a mere man, or a creature, though of the highest order, how could he promise to be “with” his disciples “always,” or at all? They would be scattered far and wide. His disciples would greatly increase. If he was “with them” always, he was God; for no finite creature could thus be present with many people scattered in different parts of the world.
Unto the end of the world - The word rendered “world,” here, sometimes means “age or state” and by some it has been supposed to mean, I will be with you until the end of this “age,” or during the continuance of the Jewish state, to the destruction of Jerusalem. But as the presence of Christ was no less necessary after that than before, there seems to be no propriety in limiting the promise to his own age. It may therefore be considered as a gracious assurance that he would aid, strengthen, guide, and defend all his disciples, but more especially his ministers, to the end of time.
Ministers of the gospel, God's messengers to their fellow-men, should never lose sight of their mission and their responsibilities. If they lose their connection with heaven, they are in greater danger than others, and can exert a stronger influence for wrong. Satan watches them continually, waiting for some weakness to develop, through which he may make a successful attack upon them. And how he triumphs when he succeeds! for an ambassador for Christ, off his guard, allows the great adversary to secure many souls to himself. GW 17.1
The true minister will do nothing that would belittle his sacred office. He will be circumspect in deportment, and wise in his course of action. He will work as Christ worked; he will do as Christ did. He will use all his powers in carrying the tidings of salvation to those who know it not. A deep hunger for the righteousness of Christ will fill his heart. Feeling his need, he will seek earnestly for the power that must come to him before he can present in simplicity, truthfulness, and humility the truth as it is in Jesus. GW 17.2Read in context »
The commission given to the disciples is given also to us. Today, as then, a crucified and risen Saviour is to be uplifted before those who are without God and without hope in the world. The Lord calls for pastors, teachers, and evangelists. From door to door His servants are to proclaim the message of salvation. To every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the tidings of pardon through Christ are to be carried. Not with tame, lifeless utterances is the message to be given, but with clear, decided, stirring utterances. Hundreds are waiting for the warning to escape for their lives. The world needs to see in Christians an evidence of the power of Christianity. Not merely in a few places, but throughout the world, messages of mercy are needed. GW 29.1
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The worker in a foreign field must carry in his heart the peace and love of heaven; for this is his only safety. Amid perplexity and trial, discouragement and suffering, with the devotion of a martyr and the courage of a hero, he is to hold fast to the hand that never lets go, saying, “I will not fail nor be discouraged.” He must be a close Bible student, and should be often in prayer. If, before talking with others, he will seek help from above, he may be assured that angels of heaven will be with him. At times he may yearn for human sympathy, but in his loneliness he may find comfort and encouragement through communion with God. Let him be cheered by the words of the Saviour, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] From this divine Companion he will receive instruction in the science of soul-saving. GW 469.1
Energy and self-sacrifice are needed in the missionary field. God calls for men who will push the triumphs of the cross; men who will persevere under discouragements and privations; men who have the zeal and resolution and faith that are indispensable in the missionary field. By persevering toil and a firm trust in the God of Israel, resolute, courageous men will accomplish wonders. There is scarcely a limit to what may be achieved if the efforts made are governed by enlightened judgment and backed by earnest endeavor. GW 469.2Read in context »
The childhood, youth, and manhood of John had been characterized by firmness and moral power. When his voice was heard in the wilderness saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Matthew 3:3), Satan feared for the safety of his kingdom. The sinfulness of sin was revealed in such a manner that men trembled. Satan's power over many who had been under his control was broken. He had been unwearied in his efforts to draw away the Baptist from a life of unreserved surrender to God; but he had failed. And he had failed to overcome Jesus. In the temptation in the wilderness, Satan had been defeated, and his rage was great. Now he determined to bring sorrow upon Christ by striking John. The One whom he could not entice to sin he would cause to suffer. DA 224.1
Jesus did not interpose to deliver His servant. He knew that John would bear the test. Gladly would the Saviour have come to John, to brighten the dungeon gloom with His own presence. But He was not to place Himself in the hands of enemies and imperil His own mission. Gladly would He have delivered His faithful servant. But for the sake of thousands who in after years must pass from prison to death, John was to drink the cup of martyrdom. As the followers of Jesus should languish in lonely cells, or perish by the sword, the rack, or the fagot, apparently forsaken by God and man, what a stay to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist, to whose faithfulness Christ Himself had borne witness, had passed through a similar experience! DA 224.2
Satan was permitted to cut short the earthly life of God's messenger; but that life which “is hid with Christ in God,” the destroyer could not reach. Colossians 3:3. He exulted that he had brought sorrow upon Christ, but he had failed of conquering John. Death itself only placed him forever beyond the power of temptation. In this warfare, Satan was revealing his own character. Before the witnessing universe he made manifest his enmity toward God and man. DA 224.3Read in context »
After the death of Christ the disciples were well-nigh overcome by discouragement. Their Master had been rejected, condemned, and crucified. The priests and rulers had declared scornfully, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” Matthew 27:42. The sun of the disciples’ hope had set, and night settled down upon their hearts. Often they repeated the words, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” Luke 24:21. Lonely and sick at heart, they remembered His words, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Luke 23:31. AA 25.1
Jesus had several times attempted to open the future to His disciples, but they had not cared to think about what He said. Because of this His death had come to them as a surprise; and afterward, as they reviewed the past and saw the result of their unbelief, they were filled with sorrow. When Christ was crucified, they did not believe that He would rise. He had stated plainly that He was to rise on the third day, but they were perplexed to know what He meant. This lack of comprehension left them at the time of His death in utter hopelessness. They were bitterly disappointed. Their faith did not penetrate beyond the shadow that Satan had cast athwart their horizon. All seemed vague and mysterious to them. If they had believed the Saviour's words, how much sorrow they might have been spared! AA 25.2Read in context »