He Touched Me
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Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18 Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. We understand that Jesus is claiming to be God, to be the highest authority. Why else would He say this?
Who was the highest authority in the world at that time? The Roman Emperor. There are things you can and can’t do in the Emperor’s world. To do things that one should not do in Emperor’s world could be very costly – especially when proclaiming to have a higher authority than the Emperor.
So, when Jesus said, “I am the highest authority,” that was grounds for death in the Roman world. And not only did Jesus claim to be higher than the Emperor, but He also asked His disciples to go and do the same – which meant putting their lives on the line – and of course, we know that thousands of Christians did in the Roman world – and still do today.
So there might be a little hesitation on the disciple’s part – understandably so. I wonder, however, if a greater hesitation, to go and proclaim Christ, had more to do more with their own ability than concern about the Emperor.
So there might be this hesitation, wondering – “Can I pull this off in this world? Can I really make disciples in this environment? Can I really do what Jesus is asking me to do?” And Jesus said, I have all authority and I am with you always – of course you can do this.”
“That’s all fine and dandy, but Jesus, I don’t know if I can really do what you’re asking. I’m just a fisherman, I’m just a tax-collector, I’m just a country boy … none of us are disciple-makers.”
When Jesus said, “I have all authority, and I am always with you,” there’s more to it than just having authority over the Emperor and so you don’t have to be afraid of him or anyone else for that matter. When Jesus said I have all authority, that means He also has authority over our weaknesses and inabilities and our shortcomings and our fears and ….”
Name one reason, one excuse, one flaw that you and I have that is outside of God’s power and authority. Name one weakness, one fear, one struggle that you deal with that is beyond God’s authority? When you find one, let me know. For there is none.
God always involves people in His work to redeem the world. This is God’s nature. He’s always inviting people to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission – which means, God continually involves people who are inadequate, unskilled, weak - people who blunder etc., to go and make disciples.
God’s not interested in your excuses, or your weakness or inabilities. 2 Cor. 12 – God is made strong in our weaknesses. You know what He’s interested in? He’s interested in you knowing Him and He’s interested in You helping other people know Him. He’s interested in a relationship with you and with the people around you. That’s why Jesus said “Go and make disciples. As you go along help people to know me, to see me, to hear me and touch me. And guess what, I’ll be with you every step of the way, helping you.”
Yet, many of us still say, “Can’t do it. I’m not capable. I don’t have what it takes. Who am I … I can’t ….”
And you are absolutely correct – you can’t! But get this – it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus working in you and through you.
Let’s turn to Jeremiah 1 and look at someone who said, “I can’t.”
The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,
Question – what was Jeremiah’s occupation? The correct answer is that we don’t know. His father was a priest – that’s all we know. Jeremiah could have been a barista at the He-Brews coffee shop.
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
We’re just going to stick to the facts for right now
Fact 1 – God knew Jeremiah before conception
Fact 2 – God had assigned to Jeremiah a specific task or job – when? Before He was born.
Question – When did was this specific assignment made known to Jeremiah? Answer – at the right time. The Hebrew language indicates that he was in his late teens or early twenties – still a youth. But the age is not the issue here – the issue is that God had an assignment for Jeremiah.
Set apart means consecrated. When something is consecrated, that means it is set apart for a specific use. So God was saying to Jeremiah, “I have something just for you.”
What’s your assignment? What’s your current occupation? What’s your age? Doesn’t matter - let’s continue.
“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
How did Jeremiah respond? Like all of us – giving excuses as if we’re going to tell an All-knowing God something He didn’t know. “Oh man, Jeremiah you’re right. I had no idea you were 19! I should have had a V8!”
Even with Divine assurance directly from God – Jeremiah still said no way – too young, too inexperienced – can’t do this. Again, Jeremiah was in his teens or early twenties; he had not yet reached the maturity necessary for public life. No one in that world was going to listen to a teenager.
God is not interested in our excuses because ultimately it has nothing to do with who we are, but everything to do with God who is with us.
How many of you think, “No one will listen to me. I’m just an old fuddy-duddy. I’m …”
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
Do not say I am too young. In other words, God was saying, “I’m not concerned about your age, what you can and can’t do, what the culture says you can and can’t do … not worried about your weaknesses, shortcoming ….” Why is God not concerned about those things? Because He is with us!!
Here’s another reason why He’s not concerned about your weakness:
Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
What does God do here? Touches Jeremiah with His Hand = power or to empower.
What part of Jeremiah’s body did God touch? Why?
God touched Jeremiah’s mouth because God had called Him to be a prophet – one who speaks to the people truths about God.
God will touch you, empower you where He wants to use you.
Who am I that God should touch?
Who am I that God should call?
Who am I that God should equip?
“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”