Clear and Unclear
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday and the text at first glance appears out of place. It is Matthew 28: 16-20. It is a short passage that on the one hand is very clear. It show Jesus telling the disciples to go forth and “make disciples of all the nations” (Verse 19). He specifically invests them with the authority to do this. This has become known as the Great Commission, and serves as a focal point for the justification of Christian missionary endeavors. This is clear enough.
Where it gets unclear is that Jesus invests this authority in the name of the Trinity, hence this text’s place on this Sunday. He tells the disciples to baptize in the name of “the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Verse 19 again). Jesus brings into this clear commissioning the very murky idea of the Holy Trinity. The three-in-one Triune God is the central mystery of the Christian faith. No one can adequately explain the mechanics of this or why God chooses to manifest Himself to us in these three distinct persons. It is a thing that we simply must take on faith, or go crazy trying to figure out.
Just Do It
Most remember the old ditty, “ours is not to reason why…”. Well that certainly applies here. The Scriptures are clear about the three distinct persons within one God. This is not really the passage to go into the best takeaway regarding the Trinity. This brief passage serves as a reminder that we have been given a joyous task by our risen Lord. We are to go forth and proclaim the Kingdom of God and the Good News of our forgiveness and our redemption. We are to go out and pass on what Jesus gave to us, how to live a fully human life in service to others out of sacrificial love, and to express that love in radical ways in all that we think, say, and do.
We are to do all of this in the name of the mysterious three-in-one Triune God, communicating to others that these three all work in tandem for our salvation. We do not need to know all the intricacies and mechanics of a three-in-one God, we just need to go out and proclaim His love. That is clear enough.
The deeply comforting thing that Jesus leaves us with at the end of this passage is that no matter what, we need to remember that He will be with us to the end of the age, that is, forever. This we trust, based on our belief in the word of Christ. In fact, we do all of this out of the faith we have been given by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. This is our response to God’s gifts of grace upon grace. That is we first believe, then we obey.
Praise Be to God