The final verses of Matthew 28 contain what we refer to as the Great Commission. Jesus gave believers their mission—to make disciples—as they live under His authority and as His representatives on earth. This mission will continue to the end of the age. Christians have the assurance that God is with us, no matter what happens, even “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
As Jesus’ time on earth neared its end, He often told His disciples of what was to come, including what would happen at the end of the age. The “end of the age” or “the end of the world” (KJV) means the end of this present era and the commencement of the next dispensation. At the end of the church age, the end-times events will occur, God will judge the wicked, and Christ will return again to establish His kingdom (Matthew 24).
Jesus had told His disciples that He would be killed but would rise again (Matthew 16:21). He intentionally gave them specific ways to recognize that the end was near (Matthew 24:4–14). Although Jesus did not give the disciples all the details of the end of the age, knowing they would not fully understand, His warnings came with assurances that would sustain them. Each time He warned them or gave them a command, He also gave them hope. For example, when He forewarned His followers that they would have trouble in this world, He also assured them, saying, “‘Take heart. I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33). Jesus’ warnings and commands to His own are never found apart from His assurances.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He instructed His disciples, “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 28:19–20). This promise that He would be with His disciples even to the end of the age still holds true for believers today. We are not yet to the end of the age.
In His promise to be with His disciples always, even to the end of the age, Jesus did not mean He would physically be with them. God is with us always through His Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised His disciples that He would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to them (John 14:26). Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit indwells all believers from the moment they are saved. He guards and guarantees our salvation (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30), leads us into righteousness (Galatians 5:16–18), reminds us of what is true (John 14:26), and gives us godly wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:10–11). Through the Holy Spirit, we have assurance that God is in control and that He is with us always, even to the end of the age.
Just as God promised Joshua that He would never leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6), so Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV). This promise sustains us as we seek to make disciples and live as God’s representatives on earth, no matter what trials or difficulties come our way.