Trinity | Devotion #3: Matthew 28:19
Joshua Combs | Lead Pastor
“…the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” Matthew 28:19
At the time of Jesus, polytheism (the belief and worship of more than one god or goddess) was the major religious viewpoint. Except for the Jewish Nation, who were monotheistic (believed and worshipped one God), the belief in many gods and goddesses was essentially a globally accepted idea. The prophets of the Old Testament stood against Israel’s acceptance of other gods (Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”), while the apostles in the New Testament spoke against the predominantly Greco-Roman worship of many gods and goddesses. Jesus came and unequivocally declared Himself as God (more about that next week), but made it clear that He was doing only the will of His Father. Other than the cross of Calvary, no greater and more emotional example of this exists than in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus had authority over sickness, disease, demons, weather, and the whole of creation, yet He willingly submitted His will to God the Father. In the same way, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, telling the disciples, “He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). We see very plainly in Scripture God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Please understand, not three gods, but one God in three persons. We would say, the triune God. Christians are not polytheists; we are monotheists. We believe in one God, who exists in three distinct persons. The study of the Trinity is like exploring a profound mystery, and yet within the pages of the Scripture the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit are seen and more importantly, presented as one.
In Matthew chapter 28 as Jesus is preparing His disciples for His eventual ascension into Heaven, the Lord gives to His followers what we have come to know as “The Great Commission.” Jesus charges His followers with the mission of preaching the Gospel throughout the world, and then “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” (verse19). The commission to those believers and to us is not to casually be acquainted with or even benign to the Trinitarian existence of God, but to take practical action that acknowledges the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but a truly saved person will be baptized, publically declaring their faith that God sent His Son to die on the cross and rise again three days later. Jesus then sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. Even as Jesus, who was baptized by John in Matthew chapter 3, comes up out of the water, the audible voice of God the Father is heard, and the Holy Spirit is seen descending like a dove on Jesus. The Trinity was present at the baptism of Jesus and is present at all future baptisms as well.