It would have been easy for the disciples to assume that everything was over. The call, the commitment, the commission could have all ended on that fateful Friday, when the one to whom they had committed their lives was murdered. Even in the face of the resurrection, there did not have to be an understanding that what began three years earlier would continue. The trauma of the crucifixion of their teacher, friend, messiah had sent them scattering in fear and grief. And as much as Jesus had tried to prepare them, they really weren’t ready for life and work without him. It could have been over.
But something happened after they received the testimony of the women. “He’s not dead. He’s alive!” they said. “Go and meet him in Galilee.” And when the disciples gathered at the Mountain of Galilee, the resurrected Christ, the living Lord, Jesus, met them there.
God has a way of showing up and showing out in mountains. God met Moses at the back side of a mountain–Mt. Horeb–where God gave Moses the message and mission of liberation of his people. God met Moses at the back side of Mt. Horeb, where God revealed God’s self to him and God’s purpose for Moses’ life. God met Elijah at Mt. Carmel, where God declared once again that God was God, and God’s people believed, because God showed up and God showed out.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the Mount of Transfiguration where once again they were given an epiphany, a glimpse of the eternity and glory of Jesus. Yes, there’s something special about God and mountains. Other Gospel writers did not necessarily mention a mountain. Mark and Luke had Jesus meeting the disciples around the dinner table. John had them locked up in a room and Jesus coming through the door, but Matthew, Matthew, the one who wrote to a people who understood the power of mountains, Matthew, the one who wanted to connect the Jesus of his day with the Hebrew scriptures, Matthew mentioned that the disciples met him at a mountain in Galilee. The Galilean mountain signified that something new and powerful was to be initiated. It’s not over.
As Jesus greets them and they’re worshipping him and even in the midst of their worship, there is still some question, there is still some uncertainty, Jesus declares to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus commissions the disciples, he gives them their job description. He gives them their purpose. He gives them their mission statement. It was Jesus’ way of saying to the disciples, “It’s not over.
Jesus commanded the disciples to move, to move beyond where they were standing. Don’t get stuck in where you’ve been. Don’t get stuck in where you think you are, but dare to move out! , “Go! Move from where you are. Go out and be about the business of making disciples.”
But it’s not over.
We have work to do. It’s not over. It’s not over! In a society in which healthy self-esteem is so difficult consider what Jesus does for us: he gives us the power to continue his work….It is not over!