The Great Commission

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we concluded our series entitled “The Beginning of the End,” as well as our entire year and a half journey through the Gospel of Matthew. This series explores the resurrection of Jesus in tandem with some of Jesus’ teaching about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of all time. This weekend I preached from Matthew 28:16-20, the final portion of the Gospel and popularly know as the Great Commission.

This message is from the tenth and final part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” “Jesus Said What?!“, and “Scandalous Jesus.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“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.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

A Return (28:16)

11 apostles (the 12 minus Judas) 

Leaving Jerusalem

A return to where everything started: “Galilee of the Gentiles” (4:15)

A Meeting (28:17)

Jesus meets with the disciples

The disciples worship Jesus

Some of the disciples hesitate or doubt

Jesus draws near to speak to them

A Commission (28:18-20)

The authority of Jesus (28:18)

Go and make disciples of all peoples (28:19)

Baptize them in the name of the Triune God (28:19)

Teaching them all Jesus’ taught (28:20)

The ongoing, abiding presence of Jesus (28:20)

An End and a New Beginning

The end of the Gospel of Matthew is a new beginning for the church

The end of our journey with this Gospel is a new beginning for us

Join the song:

  • Growing as disciples ourselves: word and baptism
  • Making disciples ourselves: declare Jesus’ authority and invite people to become Jesus’ disciples

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 28:18-20
  • Like the disciples in this scene, take time to worship Jesus as King with words or song. What hesitations or doubts do you have? Name those and bring them to Him in prayer.
  • As we finish our journey through the Gospel of Matthew, return to look over the entire book and write down a list of some of things God has been teaching you or ways God has been growing you through it. Share that with a friend this week.
  • For further insight into the Great Commission, consider reading:

Scatter the Word :: Vincent van Gogh, “The Sower”

Van Gogh - The Sower.jpg
Vincent van Gogh, The Sower; oil on canvas; 1888.

After Jesus’ resurrection, there are numerous accounts of Jesus meeting with His disciples. Several of those accounts depict Jesus’ commissioning His disciples to continue the work He began (see Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:6-8). He invites them to become witnesses of Jesus everywhere they go, making disciples as they proclaim the message about Jesus. Earlier in the Gospel accounts, in Matthew 13, Jesus tells two parables about God’s kingdom rooted in agricultural life. The first is a parable about a sower scattering seed on different types of soil with different results (Matthew 13:1-23), while the second is about a sower who scatters good seed in a good field but whose enemy sows weeds into the field during the night (13:24-30). When asked about this second parable, Jesus begins by saying, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man” (13:37). Jesus’ work is, in a sense, the work of a sower of seed, scattering good news into the field of the world. So, when the disciples go out, they, too, become sowers of the seed, scattering good news about Jesus. Vincent van Gogh’s beautifully rich painting, The Sower, is one of at least thirty paintings and drawings the artist made on this theme. Drawing upon his Christian roots and influenced by a similar work of Jean-François Millet, van Gogh saw his own artistic endeavors as a form of ministry within the world. Painting this while working alongside Paul Gauguin, van Gogh works out with passionate color his sense of how painting can bring beauty and peace from God into a disoriented and pain-filled world. The sun sinks low behind the sower almost like a halo, suggesting the holiness of a vocation lived out under God. Reflecting on Jesus’ self-description, van Gogh helps us see the holiness of the evangelistic calling of Jesus’ disciples—both then and now—who are sent out on mission, while also seeing the holiness within our vocational calling through which we can subversively join God’s mission in this world. It is both in proclamation and incarnation that Jesus’ disciples sow the seed of the message of Jesus.

The End is Beginning

This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, I began a new series entitled “The Beginning of the End.” This series explores the resurrection of Jesus in tandem with some of Jesus’ teaching about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of all time.This weekend I preached out of Matthew 28:1-15 on Jesus’ resurrection setting us free from fear.

This message is from the tenth and final part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” “Jesus Said What?!“, and “Scandalous Jesus.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid.’” (Matthew 28:5)

Don’t Be Afraid: the night is dark, but a new day has dawned (28:1-4)

The dawn of the new sabbath 

The women walking

The earth quaking 

The angel appearing

Don’t Be Afraid: death is terrible, but Jesus is risen (28:5-7)

Jesus was crucified

Jesus was buried

Jesus is risen 

Don’t Be Afraid: we may experience fear, but Jesus is here (28:8-11)

The women afraid, yet joyful

Jesus appears

The message continues

Don’t Be Afraid: we will face opposition, but Jesus has triumphed (28:12-15)

The fear of the guards

The plan of the religious leaders

The critique even unto this day


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 28:5-7.
  • Share with others, both believers and unbelievers, about what Jesus means to you. Pray about who God would have you share with this coming week or month. Don’t just think about this, but actually do it.
  • As the weather improves, take a prayer walk around where you live. Pray for those who live near you that God would open their hearts to Jesus in new ways.

The Beginning of the End: a poem for resurrection

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Three Marys at the Tomb, sketch; c. 1655.

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'”

Shadows stretched long and deep from the sunrise
on that day,
tracing the rough-hewn stone edge of the tomb.
On that day,
Mary’s somber footsteps shivered with surprise
in the way
the Savior’s silent tomb became a womb,
in the way
the angel’s earthquake language shook her life
on that day.
The death grip rescinded, new life subsumed
on that day
grief and joy, loss and gain. All revivified
in the way
Jesus struck death down in dying at noon;
in the way
divine power enfleshed, emerges alive
on that day.
No words from Mary’s lips, her vision trued
in the way
the beginning and the end were circumscribed
on that day
in flesh and bone through heaven’s glorious wound.

Eastbrook at Home – April 17, 2022

Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.

This weekend we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We also begin a new part of our series on the Gospel of Matthew entitled “The Beginning of the End.”

Here is a prayer for the Easter Sunday from The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may, by your life-giving Spirit, be delivered from sin and raised from death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

If you are able to do so, let me encourage you to join us for in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus.

If you are new to Eastbrook, we want to welcome you to worship and would ask you to text EBCnew to 94000 as a first step into community here at Eastbrook.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.