We were talking about the Great Commission during our small group study – specifically about the authority Christ claims in Matthew 28:18 – when suddenly my work with chapter 10 bridged the gap all the way to the end of the book like a spark. We have “authority” and we have “nations” – same Greek terms, though in different constructs. We have a limited grant of authority associated with a limited preaching scope, and then we have Jesus’ claim of unlimited heavenly and earthly authority associated with an unlimited discipling and preaching scope. What?
I’ve never recognized a connection. but it seems obvious enough. Maybe if the Great Commission referred directly to Samaria and Samaritans, as Acts 1 does (though it does not speak of nations, but Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the “ends of the earth”), the connection would be more pronounced. But I think there is certainly enough reasons to discount any suggestion that Matthew is somehow countering a Gentile thrust of the gospel through chapter 10, when a clear command to disciple the nations is found at chapter 28! I can imagine the disciples seeing a connection between the two commissions – the success of the first grant of authority and the hope of success in the second.
The only thing that gives me slight pause is that Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary on Matthew offers no suggestion or mention of a relationship between the grant of authority in early chapter 10 (it does make a minimal reference to vv.16 on) and the authority of Matthew 28, nor a contrast/comparison between the outreaches of both commissions. So, I guess that leaves me with a question: Has anyone seen where these two are connected; seen them compared and contrasted together purposefully? Even talked about together?
I’d be interested in any thoughts.