I Am With You Always: The Commissioning of the People of the Resurrection


Praise be to you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In your great mercy you have given us new birth into a living hope
     through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! (1 Pet. 1:3)

I receive your Holy Spirit, the Resurrection-Spirit-of-life within me,
     and I attune myself to your work of awakening hearts, including my own,
     to experience your transforming love.

In Jesus’s name I come, amen.

Matthew 28:16–20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Today is our final story in our Seven Stories of Easter series. Today, we go to the mountain with the eleven disciples as the risen Jesus gives them what we call the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the moment where the disciples (and we) realize that the story of Easter will never, ever end.

Easter Day is the first day of new creation, impacting our lives in the here and now. Easter Day is also a visible sign, set like a diamond in time, in human history. A sign that says you and I who say yes to the covenant with God fulfilled in Christ will live again in complete wholeness (shalom) on the other side of death—tears wiped away from our eyes, bodies raised imperishable to worship and to know and enjoy God forever (see the Westminster Catechism).

In our here and now, Jesus is with us always as he says in the final verse of our passage. According to Colossians 1:27, “God has chosen to make known . . . the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” In other words, he is in you. He is in me. He is living his life through us. Romans 8:11 says: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” That is one of the powerful results of the resurrection, leading to the ascension, leading to the Pentecost filling that will follow. We are filled with Jesus, and the same resurrection Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. If Jesus is in us, by the Holy Spirit, what then is this Great Commission to make disciples all about?

Jesus had invested years in training his disciples to be like him. He was about to empower them with his everlasting, indwelling presence, to give them the power to actually become Christ-like in all respects. There was a very clear intent in Jesus’s life among us for those thirty-three years, two millennia ago. His purpose was to live the way a human ought to live, before our eyes, and by that example and through teaching, modeling, and practice, to train learners who would think like him, act like him, and even feel like him in the midst of a beautiful yet broken world. To be a disciple of Jesus, to be a learner of Jesus’s ways, is to say yes to being a fully engaged apprentice of Jesus.

Just as an apprentice shadows a master, and learns the habits and patterns of a trade, so, too, we watch how Jesus lived (through the Word of God, by the Spirit of Jesus at work within us, and by watching others who are living Christ-like lives) and pattern our lives after him. That patterning impacts everything from the way we post on social media to our ways of speaking to someone when no one else is listening. The New Testament believers and the early church understood that to think and act and feel like Jesus takes both a filling with the Holy Spirit and a deep and long training—just as it did for the disciples. It takes partnership with the living Christ within us to move forward in claiming the full benefits of the resurrection for ourselves.

By the Spirit of resurrection within us, we actively unlearn ways of being human outside of Jesus that lead to death. We must see, name, and be set free from patterns that lead to death in relationships, death in hope, death in society, death in calling, and even to physical death itself.

By the Spirit of resurrection within us, we simultaneously actively learn ways of being human, from Jesus, that lead to life. We must see, name, and practice living in patterns that lead to life in relationships, life in hope, life in society, life in calling, even to eternal life itself.

That is discipleship, and it begins by first learning we are the beloved of Jesus, and welcoming union with Christ to become the new end goal of our lives—that is true conversion to Christ. The Spirit of resurrection now in us, you and I are to walk into the world of today as true people of the resurrection, constantly inviting the Spirit to change our minds, hearts, and inclinations in profound ways, even to expose remaining weaknesses so they can be confessed and surrendered to that Spirit, and then aligning our lifestyles (both public and private) to further reinforce those ways taking root within us. As we are being changed to become like Jesus, we move in the world helping others to know him, and to become learners and apprentices themselves, just as we have become and are becoming.

What does being an apprentice of Jesus look like? Colossians 3:12–17 gives us a glimpse.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In other words, live as the beloved of God, embodying his love in the world. Preach good news. Heal the sick. Minister to those who are weak. Care for the poor. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Strengthen those who are frail and fragile. Bind up the wounds of the broken. Lay down your life for others. Join Jesus in undoing the works of the evil one.

Our risen Lord has commissioned us to go into the all the world to carry his very presence among people as his Spirit lives out his life through us. And so we go. We make disciples. We teach and train others to be fully human in the way of Jesus. We teach them there is no other path to fulfillment, no other purpose higher, than to live in union with Christ. The resurrection life is ours for the living–the life-giving Spirit of Jesus is within us (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:35–49)!

Blessings on you, as the Easter season unfolds. The new creation is your present and your future. Take heart, our risen Jesus has overcome the world!


Risen Lord of the New Creation, we are tempted to expect less than resurrection power working in and through our lives to make us like you, to empower us to minister to others with wisdom and effectiveness and authority, and to enable us to preach good news wherever we go. We won’t hesitate, we won’t doubt the work you’ve done to secure our future hope. Make us your disciples, and train us to make disciples in response to your Great Commission. In Jesus’s name, amen.


As the Easter season continues for these fifty days, what areas of your life do you want to see Christ’s resurrection power at work in and through you?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Thank you, Dan, for speaking about resurrection reality in such a beautiful and compelling way.

    I woke up with these words flowing through me. “Although the beat goes on you’re not fully alive until your heart is wide open to the risen Jesus.”

  2. Thank you Dan, for this posting of what the resurrection life should be all about. It has inspired me to share it in its entirety with the adult SS class that I facilitate this Sunday morning. To God be the glory for what He has done!!

  3. Good Word! I can help but wonder which disciples still doubted. Why? About what? Or did they simply have lingering questions? Maybe, maybe not. God is not afraid of our doubt; only we are. But God is the One who uses our doubt as means for us to live in faith.
    I believe the disciples who doubted plowed ahead despite the fear. And grew in spirit.
    Just like us.
    Staying 💪’n Christ

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