Friday, July 17
Apostles' Creed Focus
“He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 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 28:16-20
My kids are finally old enough to stay by themselves for a few hours. It’s a game changer. When I leave the house, I’ll often give instructions for what needs to happen in my absence. Maybe it’s time to unload the dishwasher or vacuum. The kids listen and almost always do the tasks while I’m away because I’m their mom and they listen to their mom. Usually.
Take a look at the passage for today. If you’ve been around church for a while, you may know this as The Great Commision. It’s Jesus giving his disciples parting words. They’re his instructions for what we’re supposed to do in his absence. It’s easy to focus on the last part of the passage. “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.” They have been inscribed on art and cross-stitched and memorized by generations of Sunday school kids. And they should be. It’s the job we’ve been given to do on this earth while we wait to come home or until he returns. But the beginning of the passage is important too. Just like for my kids, we listen to these instructions because of the authority of the one giving the instructions. Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Let’s not gloss over that. All authority in heaven and on Earth. This is Jesus saying, “I’m the King”. And not just any king. He’s my king and your king.
Sometimes my instructions puzzle my kids. I might ask them to do a task that doesn’t seem necessary to them, but because I know more about what’s going on, I know what needs to happen. It’s not their job to question the instructions, but to just follow them. That doesn’t mean they don’t complain and ask a hundred questions, but ultimately, they follow them.
How often do we do that with Jesus? We downplay his authority and ignore his instructions. We get comfortable and just want to enjoy church and our friends at church and we forget we’re supposed to go and share Jesus with others all over the world. We have these words inscribed on decorative pillows, but we forget to follow them. We just use them as pillows.
When I leave the house, I always take my phone with me. My kids know they’re not really alone. That I can be reached or back home in a few minutes if necessary. The same is true of Jesus. He promises to be with us always. As we carry out this great commission he’s given us, he is with us. Our king, who has authority over everything on earth and heaven is with us. Now, that brings me comfort.
Jesus, you don’t call us to be comfortable, but we can take comfort in the fact that you are king and that you’re alway with us. Give us the courage to do the work you’ve instructed us to do. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your plan to redeem the world.
Verses for Further Reflection
Daniel 7:13-14, 1 Timothy 6:13-15, Ephesians 1:20-21
Jesus’ command to go “into all the world” can be a little daunting to a kid. Here are two basic principles to highlight for kids regarding this passage:
One: We’re called to go. Two: Jesus is always with us.
When Jesus calls us and sends us, we must be obedient. We can trust that He is right there leading us. The sooner children catch on to this the better. This will be added to the wealth of their knowledge and experience of God leading them as they grow in life and faith.
Here are a few ways kids can go into their world to share God’s love:
1) They Can Go To Their Neighborhood
Kids can go to their neighborhood. Just like selling cookies or pizzas, kids can go to homes in their neighborhood to drop off fliers for something special at church or make a special invitation for a special service. Kids can also live out the Great Commission by helping neighbors, smiling, being kind and living life with a purpose of sharing God’s love. Giving gifts to neighbors for special holidays can be a powerful way to show the love of Jesus.
2) They Can Go To Their School
School is a wide-open world of opportunity for kids to go! They can invite other kids to their church, they can do their best work possible, they can be friendly, and they can grow in faith as disciples, learning to do the right thing and follow God’s word every day. Kids can pray for their teachers and friends.
3) They Can Go To Their Church
The church needs kids to live out the Great Commission among them. There is plenty of ministry that can happen by kids at church. The present and future Church needs kids to step up and be faithful. When kids serve at church, when they go on small trips to serve and help and when they love people, the Church is strengthened.
4) They Can Be Ready To Go To Other Parts Of The World
As any parent will tell you, you blink and your kid is grown. Help them learn now how important it is to take mission trips, be faithful to God’s call, and to live with a desire to serve in kingdom ministry no matter what profession they choose.
Kids will model what they see in the adults who are leading them in faith. As we live out the Great Commission, they will naturally learn it. In what ways are you regularly modeling The Great Commission for your kids?