"Therefore go and make disciples ... teaching them ..." (Matthew 28:18-20)

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 28:17-20)

Why does it say 'some doubted'?

When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Why would they doubt? They were looking right at Jesus, weren't they?

As evidenced by the previous verse about Jesus asking the Marys not to be afraid, they didn't recognize Jesus. This is because Jesus was not appearing to them in his physical body. If he was appearing in his physical body they would have immediately recognized him without a doubt.

But Jesus didn't appear in his physical body, because his body died. At the time of death, Jesus rose up and left his physical body.

This also means that when he appeared to his disciples at Galilee, some did not believe it was Jesus because they did not recognize him.

They did not recognize him because he had risen from his physical body at the time of death.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27:50)
The phrase, 'gave up his spirit' means the spirit of Jesus left his body. Jesus' spirit left his body. This is the definition of death - the spirit-person leaves or passes away from the body.

This is also confirmed in the Book of John when the soldiers tested to make sure Jesus was dead. His body was dead:
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. (John 19:33-34)
Indeed, Jesus' own disciples confirmed that Jesus' body was dead:
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (Mark 15:43-46)

What did the disciples see and what happened to his body?

If Jesus' physical body was dead and his spirit had passed away (risen from the body), then what appeared to his disciples was an apparition - the spirit of Jesus. This is why some doubted.

This might bring up the question of what happened to Jesus' body if they did not find it in the tomb on the third day. We find that Jesus' body was put into a tomb, as was the custom during those times:
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,  and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:57-60)
We also find clear evidence that the tomb Joseph put Jesus' body into was not to be his permanent resting place:
Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)
This indicates that the tomb that Joseph of Arimathea brought the body to was not meant to be Jesus' permanent burial tomb. The statement, "since the tomb was nearby" indicates that this location was a matter of convenience. Because of the holiday and the lack of resources, they could not properly bury Jesus' body.

The earlier verses indicate that this was Joseph's tomb. Matthew states, "placed it in his own new tomb." It was against Jewish law to bury a body in another family's tomb.

These points mean that Jesus' body would have to be moved to his own family tomb.

It is also possible that the soldiers who were guarding the tomb also moved Jesus' body. They didn't want someone to take Jesus' body so they removed it and hid it away.

Whatever happened, the bottom line is that Jesus had left that body behind. This is why others were handling the body - because it was dead. Jesus wasn't operating that body any longer. 

As far as the stone goes, the verses above indicate that Joseph rolled the stone in front of the tomb himself. Thus rolling the stone away to access Jesus' body would have been quite easy for the guards, Joseph or anyone else who wanted to move Jesus' body to a more permanent tomb.

Archaeology research has suggested multiple tomb potentials where Jesus' body ended up being buried.

Why did Jesus Jesus instruct them to teach?

This statement by Jesus directly contradicts the doctrine that Jesus' crucifixion in itself saves us and cleanses our sins. If this were true, then why would he ask them to go out and pass on his teachings? And why didn't Jesus teach or ask his disciples to teach that his crucifixion would save everyone and cleanse everyone's sins?

We should also note that the teachings of James and others did not state that Jesus' crucifixion would save everyone. This was Paul's teaching - and Paul was not a disciple of Jesus. Paul argued with James and Peter with regard to this and other teachings.

For those who did understand that this was the spirit-person of Jesus, Jesus then instructs them to go out and teach to others what he has taught them. This can be broken down into three instructions:

- Pass on his teachings throughout the world ("all nations")
- Teach what Jesus taught ("teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you")
- Make disciples so they would teach others; ("go and make disciples")

All three of these instructions are related to preaching what Jesus taught. This means teachings precisely what he taught - not making up a new doctrine as the Pauline philosophy and Nicene Creed perpetuated.

Why did Jesus Jesus instruct them to make disciples?

If all we need to do is accept that Jesus died for our sins then why did Jesus instruct his own disciples to go out and make their own disciples? Why couldn't everyone just accept Jesus' crucifixion saves us as is being taught by so many today?

Jesus became a disciple of John and then took on his own disciples. Then he taught them the teachings that were also taught by John the Baptist.

John in turn was teaching the same teachings that had been passed down for centuries through the Prophets and a lineage of teachers that included Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Eli, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah and Zechariah - John the Baptist's teacher and father.

Jesus is now empowering his disciples to go out and teach and make disciples of their own. Just as Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist, he is telling them to go out and do the same as he has done. He is instructing them to carry on his teachings as he had done with John's teachings.

Baptism is the same process as "anointing," described in the Old Testament. It is a ritual that represents the spiritual teacher accepting a follower as a disciple. A disciple is essentially a dedicated follower.

Today baptism has descended into a ritual signifying the joining of a particular sect.

The original intent was to signify a change of heart and a dedication of our life to the Supreme Being. While the ritual is not necessary to achieve love of God, the dedication that it was meant to signify is the cornerstone of spiritual growth. 

The ritual of baptism was never the important part. The important part is the dedication that takes place within the heart. A person who dedicates their life to following the teachings of love of God, then passes on those teachings is a disciple regardless of whether they have undergone the ritual.

But Jesus underwent the ritual in public because he wanted others to understand that becoming dedicated to the teachings of God's messengers is important. It was a public display of dedication to God.

What does 'in name of the Son' mean?

Jesus says to baptize them "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." What does this mean?

The word "son" is a mistranslation in this context. This word comes from the Greek word υἱός (huios). This word, according to the lexicon, can only mean "son" "in a restricted sense." This "restricted sense" would apply only to, "the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother)."

This, however, is not the only meaning of the Greek word translated to "son."

Thayer's lexicon also defines υἱός (huios) as: "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower."

What is a person who "depends on another or is his follower"? A person who depends upon another is a dependent.

And a person who follows another is a follower - someone devoted to that person.

This can better be described as a devoted person - a devoted follower or servant.

In the context of God, it can only mean a follower of God or a servant of God.

This is confirmed by Jesus when he said:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons [servants or followers] of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Jesus is quite certainly expanding the definition of "sons of God." This makes it apparent, as we've pointed out with this statement, that Jesus is referring to the followers of God in general with the word υἱός (huios) - which would be more responsibly translated to "servant" or "follower" in this context.

We can see how the word υἱός (huios) is used outside of the context of a physical family elsewhere by Jesus:
Jesus replied, "The people [υἱός (huios)] of this age marry and are given in marriage." (Luke 20:34)
"They are God's children [υἱός (huios)], since they are children [υἱός (huios)] of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36)
In both of these statements by Jesus, he is using the word υἱός (huios). In the first (Luke 20:34), "The people" is translated from υἱός (huios), and in the second, "children" is also translated from υἱός (huios). The first is referring to people who are subjects - followers - of the physical world ("of this age"), while the second is referring to people who are the followers or servants of God.

This is precisely how Jesus and others described himself:

1) υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, which means the follower or servant of God (τοῦ means "of" and θεοῦ means "God")

2) υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, which means the servant of humanity.

The correctly-translated term, "servant of humanity," is a humble self-reference that has roots in the Old Testament, though it has also been mistranslated there by ecclesiastical sectarian translators from the Hebrew word בן (ben), which can also mean "son" only within the context of a physical family, but also "a member of a guild, order, class" (similar in use to "follower").

Consider David's humble self-description:
"O Lord, what is man that You care for him, the son of man [servant of humanity] that You think of him?" (Psalm 144:3)
Job also humbly referred to himself as a servant of humanity when he prayed:
"how much less man, who is but a maggot - a son of man [servant of humanity], who is only a worm!" (Job 25:6)
God also referred to Ezekiel as the servant of humanity no less than 60 times:
"He said to me, "son of man [servant of humanity], stand up on your feet and I will speak to you."" (Ezekiel 2:1)
"He [God] said: "Son of man [servant of humanity], I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against Me to this very day." (Ezekiel 2:3)
In this last verse, we see that God referred to Ezekiel as the servant of humanity as He was sending him to teach to the Israelites on His behalf. This is the quintessential servant of humanity: Sent by God to help (as a service to) humankind.

We also know that Jesus' followers also referred to Jesus as υἱός (huios) of David:
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 21:9)
Are they really saying that Jesus is David's son? This is ridiculous, as David lived several centuries before Jesus' body was born.

But when we properly translate υἱός (huios) we can understand the reference quite clearly: Jesus was a "follower of David" or the "servant of David." This clarifies that Jesus was devoted to David, and his teachings were in line with David's.

There is a bond of devotion between Jesus and David. Jesus also comes from the same lineage of teachers as David. And because Jesus' students respected David as a great messenger of God, Jesus' being David's follower was considered an exalted position.

In other words, they were not exalting some sort of family status of Jesus - that his body belonged to the same family as David: They were speaking of his being part of the devotional family of David - the spiritual teaching lineage of David.

So when we translate the word υἱός (huios) within the context of Jesus telling his disciples to baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," we can understand that Jesus was not referring to himself exclusively as υἱός (huios).

The bottom line is that Jesus was saying that they should make disciples in the name of - or on the account of - the servant of God. This brings the disciples into the lineage of becoming themselves, servants of God.

What did Jesus mean by 'end of the age'?

Jesus finishes by promising his followers:
"I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Sectarian teachers-for-hire would have us believe that he is talking about a supposed "doomsday" scenario, now more than two thousand years later and counting.

However, the Greek phrase συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος does not indicate the end of the world. The root word αἰών (aiōn) means "forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity" according to the lexicon. And συντέλεια (synteleia) means "completion, consummation, end."

In other words, a more appropriate translation of his last statement to his disciples after he appeared to them after leaving his body is:
"And surely I am with you always, until the end of time."
Still in use today, the metaphorical use of "until the end of time" means eternity. It means forever.

In other words, Jesus was telling them that he will be with them for eternity. This is because their relationship is spiritual.

Their relationship is not dependent upon whether their physical bodies live or die. Their relationship was based upon their following the teachings from God as passed on by Jesus.

These were the same teachings that had been passed down through God's messengers over the centuries. They bind anyone who chooses to accept them, including any of us. Such a bond is tied together by following a simple, profound instruction by Jesus, which reiterated the teachings of Moses:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39)