Wednesday after Rogate
Scripture: St. Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The eleven apostles had been called to be witnesses to the resurrection, and thus were commanded: “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.” (KJV) Teaching and baptizing are joined together, whether one is first baptized and then taught, as is the case with infants, or taught and then baptized, as is the case with adult converts. The holy ministry does not see a separation between the Word and Sacraments, but instead beholds them both as the good gifts of the Triune God given for the creation and sustenance of our faith.
This instruction which the Lord gives to the holy apostles defines the labors of the office of the ministry to this day. It is true that the apostles had a universal call, while pastors have a local call, but the good gifts which the Lord imparts to His flock through His servants remain the same. The Shepherd feeds the flock through the ministrations of His called servants. Teaching, baptizing, and continuing to teach remains the work to which the Lord calls His pastors: their labors are not something which they choose for themselves, and their ministry is not something which the Church can redefine. The Lord calls to that which He establishes and sustains, and He is present always as His Word is proclaimed and His Sacraments are administered, for He has proclaimed: “… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
We pray: O God, from whom all good things do come, grant to us, Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.