Introduction: What are God’s expectations for us? Is it to
simply believe that Jesus is God and that He came to save
us? Or is it more complicated than that? Does it involve us
joining God in His mission to save humans? Let’s dive into
our study of the Bible and learn about our mission!

I. Mission for Disciples

A. Read John 20:19-20. What is the mental state of the
disciples? (Terrible! Jesus has been crucified.
They fear for their lives. But Mary (John 20:18)
says that she has seen Jesus alive.)

1. How does their mental state change when Jesus
appears to the disciples? (The text says that
they “were glad.”)

a. Does that seem to be an obvious
understatement? (Read Luke 24:41. This
says the disciples “disbelieved for joy.”
I think this explains why a word like
“glad” is appropriate here. They were in
terror for their personal safety, and now
Jesus comes to show that He is alive. It
was wonderful and hard to believe at the
same time. “Too good to be true.”)

2. Notice in John 20:20 that Jesus shows them His
“hands and side.” Why did He do that? (This
reinforces the point that they needed proof
that He was actually alive.)

B. Read John 20:21-22. What did Jesus do first?
(He addressed their mental state. Read Romans 5:1.
Our most fundamental need is to be at peace with

1. What did Jesus do second? (He gave them a

2. What did Jesus do third? (The receipt of the
Holy Spirit was essential to accomplishing
their mission.)

a. Is there a lesson in this for us? Or are
these instructions only for these

C. Read John 20:23. Do we have the power to forgive
sins and to refuse to forgive sins?

D. Read Mark 2:5-7 and Mark 2:10-11. Without any doubt
Jesus has the power to forgive sins. Did He in John
20:23 give that power to the disciples and to us?
(Would God give me the ultimate power to refuse to
forgive someone of their sins?)

1. Read Matthew 6:14-15. If we take all of this
at face value, then I can keep another person
from being forgiven with the result that I am
not going to be forgiven. Does that make any
sense to you? (Not to me. Why? Because we have
humans making the ultimate decision that God
alone should make. The commentators I
consulted do not believe Jesus is giving the
disciples (or us) the power to forgive or
withhold forgiveness of sin.)

E. Look again at John 20:23. If Jesus is not speaking
of the power of humans to pardon sin, what can He
be talking about? (Let’s look at context. Jesus has
just defeated sin. He is giving His disciples the
power of the Holy Spirit and is sending them out on
His behalf. I think it is reasonable to understand
this to mean that by sharing the gospel with others
we enable them to have forgiveness of sin. While I
don’t think God would leave it only to me to share
the gospel with someone, I think the point is that
we should not withhold the gospel from anyone.)

F. Read Matthew 28:16-17. Some doubted what? (This is
a continuation of our prior discussion. The
disciples are still having a hard time wrapping
their minds around the fact that Jesus was
crucified and then rose to life.)

G. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus is given “all
authority on heaven and earth,” and because of that
He tells the disciples to “make disciples.” How is
the commission to go make disciples linked to
Jesus’ authority? (Jesus tells us that He won the
battle for the earth. He won back authority over
the earth from Satan. Now He possesses “all
authority in heaven and earth.”)

1. How does Jesus’ authority shape our mission?
(Jesus’ victory over sin is the centerpiece of
our message. In every discussion of what is
happening in our life and in our world, the
baseline is that Jesus won!)

2. Who should be the target of our mission
message? (Everyone. All nations. This is new.
God is not using the Jewish nation as His
primary focus.)

3. Why is baptism the first goal of discipling?
(Read Colossians 2:11-13. Genesis 17 tells us
that God told Abraham that circumcision was to
be the sign of the “everlasting covenant”
between God and Abraham’s descendants.
Colossians 2:11-12 informs us that baptism is
the new circumcision. This is how we show that
we are in a special relationship with God. It
is how we participate in Jesus’ death and
resurrection. This is obviously a powerful
first step!)

H. Look again at Matthew 28:19. Why do you think Jesus
mentions the Trinity as the reference point for
baptism? Why not just say “in My name” since Jesus
is the one who died and was resurrected?

1. Read Acts 2:38. Is Peter following the logic
of my prior question and failing to follow
Jesus’ instructions? (Albert Barnes Commentary
says the Greek used here means baptized for
service to Jesus. Jesus brings the entire
Godhead into the covenant relationship with
us. Notice that Peter immediately brings the
Holy Spirit into the relationship.)

I. Look again at Matthew 28:20. What is the next step
of our mission? (After baptism we are to teach
obedience to the commands of Jesus.)

1. Does your church get the cart before the
horse? Do you do this backwards, in violation
of Jesus’ instructions? (The problem with
doing this backwards is not just a matter of
obedience, the practical problem is that you
are teaching someone who has not first entered
into a relationship with the Holy Spirit.)

2. What other promise does Jesus give to His
disciples? (He will be with us always. I hear
people claim that we need to reach a state of
perfection because we may come to a time when
the Holy Spirit is withdrawn and we have to
stand face to face with Satan and his demons.
That teaching contradicts this text.)

II. Mission Message

A. Read Revelation 14:6. Is this angel giving the same
message as we were told to give in Matthew 28? If
your answer is “yes,” why is an angel giving it?
(Since we were previously given this message, I
think the point is that heaven is giving additional
power to our message. Perhaps one reason is that we
have been failing to do our job properly.)

B. Read Revelation 14:7. Is this the same as the
directive of Matthew 28:20? (In fact, this is a
different message. Jesus in Matthew 28 refers to
the “end of the age.” The message of Revelation
14:7 is that the “hour” of the end is now.)

1. How would you characterize what we are told to
teach in Revelation 14:7? (This is
righteousness by faith. Our Creator God is to
be worshiped, feared, and glorified because
the final judgment is at hand. This suggests
the answer to judgment is to rely on the
perfect life of Jesus, and the death of Jesus
for our sins.)

C. Read Revelation 14:8. What parallel do you find
with Matthew 28:18? (Both pronounce the victory of
Jesus over His opponents.)

D. Read Revelation 14:9-10. What is our mission
message here? (We must choose between Jesus and

E. Read Revelation 14:12. Recall that Matthew 28:20
requires us to teach? What does this instruct us to
teach? (It has two points. One is “faith in Jesus,”
meaning faith in Jesus for our salvation. The other
is to “keep the commandments of God.”)

1. How can you reconcile the second message with
righteousness by faith alone? (If you
contemplate “faith in Jesus” you must consider
why it is that Jesus sacrificed so much for
us? Why not just bend the rules and avoid all
of that unpleasantness (to put it mildly)?
The answer is that Jesus valued the law that
much. I believe that the rule of law is the
cornerstone of God’s kingdom of love. When we
realize the extraordinary importance of the
law we will, with the power of the Holy
Spirit, aim to “keep the commandments of

F. Friend, what are God’s expectations for us? We
learned that they are not simply to believe in
Jesus, but to share this good news with the rest of
the world. Our discipling goals are baptism,
teaching, and obedience in the light of a coming
judgment. Will you sign on to that mission right

III. Next week: God’s Call to Mission.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.