i recently spent some time in Pakistan. and it was an intense time. but my time there got me thinking about missions. so much so that i think what we now call missions might not be what Jesus meant. the quote in Matthew that has been used for centuries to justify all kinds of creative, positive, and also at time destructive ploys to get people “in” the kingdom was a quote taken from an author in a particular time with a particular agenda.
The apostel Paul was fervent that the gospel of Jesus was about the gentiles. that at one time it was about Jews, but now God has shifted his views toward the Gentiles. We even see a bit of this point of view in his disagreement with Peter. Paul wasn’t being exclusive, but he was also dealing with Jewish extremist within the religious sect, so at times, he might seem a bit progressive in his views. It is important to remember that he is dealing with specific issues, like Matthew was as well. Matthew was written around the same time as some of Pauls’ letters. Their works were contemporaries of one another. Matthew would have known about Paul and vice versa. Matthew disagreed with Paul. Matthew believed that Jesus initially came for the Jews and then essentially redraws the boundaries and includes everyone. This is where we get the so-called “Great Commission” from. So, Matthew included this to challenge Paul and his views that the message of Jesus was for everyone not just a particular group. This was the reason why these words were included. Also, Matthew thinks Jesus is the new Moses. Jesus sends out his friends and some others from the top of the mountain. a commandment of sort. like Moses gave his people 10 commandments. Moses also commissioned Joshua to go to the foreigners and Joshua commissioned others to go out as well. There are many echoes here of Old Testament heroes. Matthew is saying Jesus is a big deal. That He believes Jesus is this new messiah and that He is going to lead his people out of “Egypt” (or this time in history, “Rome”). Or out of a destructive way of life. Jesus is this new leader. Maybe what we deem as the Great Commission was more about who Matthew thought Jesus was and why that its important. i will revisit this again soon. but it seems this verse was placed here to prove the deity of Jesus. God gave Moses the commandments. Jesus gave his followers their command. it is important to remember that most of the NT is a commentary on the old. There is a lot of that going on even in the “great commission”.