The great commission…
A Matter of Ownership
by Skip Moen, D. Phil.
This is a phrase often heard referring to the end of Matthew. Let’s get that out of the way before we move on. Let’s take a look at a Hebrew translation of Matthew vs a Greek (that would be where we get our English translation from via, possibly Aramaic and, Latin as well down stream), oh and can we at lest agree that the Hebrew will probably predate the Greek, skip the point that Matthew was actually Hebrew.
KJV (Mat 28:16-20) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Hebrew (Matt 28:16-20) After this when his twelve disciples came to Galilee he appeared to them in the mountain where they had prayed. When they saw him they worshiped him. but there were some of them who doubted him. Jesus drew near to them and said to them: To me has been given all power in heaven and earth. Go and (teach) them to carry out all of the things I have commanded you forever.
A few things hit me here, of which some I have no idea. Let’s start with the latter, 11 disciples in the Greek, 12 in the Hebrew, that is a poser… And where did baptizing and the Trinity come from? It really does sound like doctrinal inserted text.
Insertions have fascinated me, are they there because the original audience would have understood that or that we need it there to understand. Go and (teach) them… Interesting and I am not really sure why the interpreter chose to insert that word. But I have an interesting challenge to propose. What if your life was meant to be an example, your discipleship of the Master reflected the Master. What if your purpose is to do nothing more than follow the Master and by example (light) show those the ways of the Master, leading others to want to follow out of love and commitment.
So could it read: Go to them and carry out all of the things I have commanded you…
And let’s not forget the forever part, since we cannot live forever, has to be either do that, and those that follow, in perpetuity. This will be done forever. OR, it could be that those commands have existed forever. OR, could both be true? (Hebraic thought)
OK, since this could possibly not be a great commission, it is how we are supposed to live, might we have had a commission much earlier that we should be keeping. Instead of starting in Matthew maybe we should start in Genesis. Skip wraps it up with an interesting sentence: Life is commissioned, not inherited.