The Great Commission
Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe. (John 20:29)
Today’s Bible story is found in the Gospel of Matthew. It is the only post Resurrection appearance of Jesus that Matthew includes and is the last four verses of the Book. In Matthew’s story, Jesus’ appearance to the disciples was not to prove to them that Jesus had risen. Matthew assumes that the disciples had already accepted that the Resurrection had occurred. Matthew has Jesus giving his disciples the authority to baptize, teach, and make disciples.
This story is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. A commission can be a command to act in a certain way or the authority to act on behalf of another person. Here both of these meanings are appropriate. Jesus knew that he would no longer be with the disciples on earth as he had been, so he granted them the authority to continue his work. This task was not a “Well, if you want to, go ahead and do this” situation, however. Jesus was commanding the disciples. Their job was to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Although Jesus’ ministry had been localized in a relatively small geographic area, his commission to the disciples was to spread the Word.
Since we are followers of Jesus, the Great Commission is for us too. Like the disciples, we are charged with spreading the Word. We are to tell people about Jesus’ love.
Jesus did not issue the Great Commission to the disciples and to us and then leave us on our own. Jesus left the disciples with a promise that extends to all of his followers: “I myself will be with you every day” (Matthew 28:20). When we are not sure whether we can continue to do God’s work, Jesus is with us, helping us and showing us the way.
• Jesus told his disciples to tell everyone about him.
• Jesus is always with us.
Activity Sheet Downloads: