Mt 28:20 ... observe all that I have commanded you

This verse either means something very specific or it doesn’t. How can I tell what it means?

If I ask 10 people, 8 won’t have any idea and 2 will be just making it up or won’t agree.


…you are correct… if you pick any Biblical passage and ask any number of people you would get either silence or a multiple number of understandings…

…so what does it mean?

…what do you think is happening here?

…from the content you can derive the context:

…Jesus is about to leave, His Disciples will not see Him again until Pentecost Day, at His Ascension; His final Word to them is the Delegation to go into the world preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God, pass on to them His Teachings, and Baptize them into the Faith.

Clearly Jesus is not talking about that which had just transpired but everything that He Taught them during His Ministry. It is the deposit of Faith. Jesus is not setting up a quick guide to Salvation where His Disciples preach and Baptize “come one come all, la-di-da–one, two, three, next!..”

Note, from the subsequent Epistles, that the Apostles understood that Jesus actually meant that what He Taught them during His Ministry must be passed down to the new disciples/Believers… the various Writings are not directed at novices that had never heard of Jesus, but to actual Believers who had been received in the Faith and had been Baptized–as St. Paul puts it, they had to receive solid nourishment!

Maran atha!


Put it in context to understand it. If your respondants are clueless, tell them the context here.

So whats happening? What part of the life of Jesus are we up to here?

Jesus, after Crucifixion, has risen on the third day, continued teaching the Apostles and doing His work. He asks the Apostles to meet Him in Galilee.
The Apostles meet Jesus in Galilee. Jesus tells them He has been given all the Authority in Heaven and on Earth. Jesus then tells the Apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations and Baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And (here is your passage) then Jesus tells the Apostles to

“Teach them (the disciples of all nations that the Apostles have Baptised) to observe all the commands I gave you”

So this verse is Jesus specifically telling the Apostles what to teach, ie all the commands He had given the Apostles.

If I want to know those commands, I would read the Gospels.

And (here is something to think about) perhaps Jesus gave the Apostles commands to teach us to observe that were not recorded. But we observe them because the Apostles first taught us, and so does the Church.
A learned Theologican might help us out here, as I am still just learning the Gospels.

So a quick glance at the Gospels tells me ( from the meeting with Lazarus, Martha and Mary) that Jesus said the two most important Commandments are?

Commentary from the Bishops’ Website: * [28:20] All that I have commanded you:
the moral teaching found in this gospel, preeminently that of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5–7). The commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law as such, even though some of the Mosaic commandments have now been invested with the authority of Jesus.

Hi, Rose!

…I concur with you; not everything was laid down on text!

Jesus tells His Disciples that He must return to the Father and that once He returns to the Father He will send them another Paraclete, One who will abide with and in them; the Holy Spirit will Come to bring the Church to the Fullness of the Truth (that which Jesus said that His Disciples could not yet bear–St. John 16:1-15).

Further more, there are passages in Scriptures that demonstrate this… they involve both Jesus’ Ministry and the Apostles’; for instance, Jesus, after being Baptized, was lead to the desert by the Holy Spirit; He fasted for forty days and nights and Satan appeared to Him to tempt Him… other than the angels, there were no witnesses to this event, and there are no passages where it is made explicit that Jesus narrated the encounter to an audience… yet, we have the retelling of the event… since Jesus spent around three and one half years with His Disciples, we must conclude that at one point or another He made the facts of the event known to the Twelve.

Maran atha!


In that passage our Lord is addressing the Apostles, who have a special duty to hand down the faith intact. Still, it is also true that every Christian has an obligation to learn and to observe the faith entire. That doesn’t mean each of us has to know every detail all at once. Even the Church as a whole understands revelation over time. God made us temporal beings with discursive minds, and understands that we learn in process. How do we know the faith? Through the means he gave us: the preaching of our pastors, the teaching in catechisms, the Liturgical Year, the spiritual life, and the life of the Church in general.

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