Matthew 28:18–20

“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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (vv. 19–20).

Once we acknowledge the bodily ascension of Christ (Acts 1:6–11), we are forced to deal with certain questions raised by passages such as the one chosen for today’s study. Since Jesus has ascended and no longer walks among us in the flesh, how can it also be true that He is with us, even “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20)?

The Heidelberg Catechism deals with this issue in question and answer 47, turning to the hypostatic union to explain how our Savior can be present with His people in all places and in all times. According to the hypostatic union, Christ is both truly human and truly divine. Jesus is the Son of God, and He has a divine nature that possesses all of our Creator’s attributes, including omnipresence, omniscience, and so forth (John 1:1). But Jesus is also the son of Mary, and He has a human nature that possesses everything that makes human beings human, including a human mind, soul, and body (Luke 23:46; John 1:14). In the one person of Jesus, these two natures are perfectly united without mixture, confusion, separation, or division and each nature retains its own peculiar properties. For example, His physical body and His human mind and soul do not become omnipresent because they are united to His deity. Likewise, the divine Son of God does not cease to be omnipresent simply because He unites Himself to a true human nature with all its limitations.

Jesus’ divine nature makes Him always present with us. He is omnipresent in His deity as God’s Son. Thus, we can commune with Him wherever we are. We commune with the whole Christ, including His humanity, because the omnipresent Son of God closes the geographical gap between us and our Savior’s humanity, which, like ours, is in only one place at a time. Because Christ’s divine nature is united to His human nature, we meet with Jesus in His humanity and in His divinity when we fellowship with the Son of God. Dr. R.C. Sproul writes: “The person of Christ is still a perfect union of a divine nature and a human nature. The human nature is in heaven. The divine nature is not limited to the physical confines of the body of Jesus. . . . The divine nature retains its property of omnipresence. The person of Christ can be everywhere, but that ability is through the power of the divine nature, not the human nature” (Truths We Confess, vol. 1, pp. 246–247).

Coram Deo

One of the most beautiful ways in which we commune with the whole Christ is in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17–34). Since Jesus has a human body with all its limitations, it does not become omnipresent and distributed around the world in the elements. Instead, as John Calvin explained, we are raised to heaven, where we feed on the whole Christ in His humanity and in His deity. Let us not neglect the sacrament and the grace it offers.

For Further Study