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April 14, 2011 / Daniel

The Great Commission

Ascension of Christ

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Sometimes a text is so familiar to us that we overlook certain details.  This is especially true when it comes to the Synoptic Gospels.  Since we are familiar with all three works, when we read Matthew, we read Luke and Mark in between the gaps.  So instead of seeing Matthew’s distinct portrayal of Christ, we only see a combination of all three gospel writers’ work.  I’m not saying that harmonizing the gospels is a bad thing.  I’m just saying that when we do this, we might miss out on seeing all that the writer intended for us to see.

For instance, when reading Matthew 28, I often assume that I’m reading a text about the ascension of Christ.  And yet Matthew 28 does not mention the ascension.  Mark 16:19 mentions the ascension.   So does Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11.  But Matthew never brings up this detail.

Instead Matthew comes to a close as Jesus speaks to His disciples.  “Behold, I am with you always, even until the end of age.”  The ending is the promise of Jesus’ presence in the midst of His church (cf. Matt 18:20).   Now, of course, I’m not suggesting that Matthew didn’t believe in the ascension or that he was unaware of the ascension, but rather that Matthew chose to highlight Jesus’ continual presence with people.  The resurrected King remains with His people.  Christ’s presence is what gives God’s people the power to complete the mission that He has given us.

We are not alone.

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