Aruba is a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, dry and sandy with no fresh water and few natural resources. They rely on tourism. They also have one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean and low unemployment. Aruba has a varied culture, with 92 different nationalities on the tiny island. Religion is mostly Roman Catholic.
The Alto Vista Chapel pictured here is a small Catholic chapel also known as “Pilgrims Church” that stands above the seashore. The present chapel was completed in 1952 and replaces the original chapel built by Domingo Silvestre, the Venezuelan missionary in 1750. It is also stated to be the location where conversion of Aruban Indians to Christianity started.
As I read about the different countries of the world, I am seeing just how important the missionaries of the past have been to our world, often giving their life and great sacrifices to fulfill the commission that Jesus asked of us.
Jesus came near and said to the disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19
The book of Matthew has taken us on quite a journey. It is filled with Jesus’ words from his sermons, the stories and parables he told to the crowds, teaching for his disciples, arguments with the Pharisees over the meaning of the law, and many dinner conversations with sinners and tax collectors (Matthew being the most famous tax collector).
From Jesus’ humble beginning in Bethlehem, he taught in the temple, he healed many – a man with leprosy, a paralyzed man, a woman who was bleeding, blind men – he casts out demons, miraculously turns water into wine, calms the storm, walks on water, clears out the temple from the sellers and money-changers, proclaims to be the Messiah and is crucified on the cross for making this claim, is resurrected and witnessed by many. Jesus was constantly on the move during his ministry, and everywhere he went, crowds followed him. This was not an isolated event in history.
Now we come to the last statement from Jesus before he ascends back into heaven.
~ The Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20 ~
The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted.
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Most likely there were more than just the 11 disciples with Jesus, since crowds always followed him. The fact that Matthew says some doubted gives the most credibility and transparency to his writing. Matthew is not trying to cover up facts or push some fake story to us. There will always be people who doubt, but a story like Matthew’s cannot be told in such detail, and during the time these events happened, if it were not true.
Jesus, in his final words to us, confirms the gospel message:
Jesus’ authority: His humility on earth has ended and He has now been exalted and given all authority in heaven and earth.
Trinity: He mentions the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I am with you: Just as it was announced in the beginning that the baby Jesus should be named Immanuel, “God with us”, Jesus is still with us to the very end.
If you would like to see how Jesus is shown throughout the entire Bible, go to my menu series on “Christmas Story from Genesis to John“. It has 31 entries, one for each day of the month, showing how Jesus was present with God from the beginning as the promised Savior, and how his life is accurately prophesied throughout the Bible. I will soon have a downloadable version too. God Bless!