The Bible is full of stories of men and women finding new ways to enjoy themselves in the company of God. For instance, Jesus performed a dance called the tuk-tuk, after a story in the Gospel of Mark:
And Jesus and his disciple came to Pilate and to the soldiers … And the soldiers brought to him a man with a bandage about his mouth, and said that he was Jesus the Nazarene, and desired to be taken immediately to the chief priests and the elders …
In the story, it is the chief priests’ job to ask Pilate to take the man to Pilate and tell him to say whether or not he is Jesus the Nazarene. But it’s the disciples who are invited along to be witnesses. There we see the disciples’ own willingness to be witnesses, as they ask the question:
Now there appeared around the altar [in the crowd] a young man clothed in a clean linen tunic, and the linen cloths were soiled. And Jesus answered and said to them, You see all that has happened.
So the disciples had the opportunity to get their witness, since they asked Jesus questions. What do we see in Matthew 28:18-29? In both the verse before and the one after, Jesus appears as the subject of conversation. But what about the first verse, “Then he told them to sit down again”? Why did Jesus tell them just sit down? And what about verse 18? What is Jesus saying?
Let’s take a look at the opening verse to Matthew 28; first the question is asked, then Jesus’ answer, and then the disciples’ responses.
“Then he told them to sit down again.”
This verse opens like this:
The first thing he did was to ask him, ‘What is your name?’ and he said, ‘Jesus.’ He said this to test him, so he could say to them, ‘Whatever you ask me, answer me, for it is my name.’
Notice the key is that Jesus is the subject of the question, the subject of the question has the opportunity to tell the disciples who he is if they don’t have an answer. It’s a way for a disciples’ testimony to be “tested.” He’s asked to be asked a question by the leaders in the crowd, who ask the followers to think about what Jesus is up to.
“Then he told them to sit down.”