Matthew 28:16-20, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Jesus’ Final Orders to His Disciples
16Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. 18Then Jesus came to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”
- Bible with child-friendly translation
- Baptismal font or pitcher and water.
Have I got some wonderful news for you today! Jesus loves you! Of course, you have heard that Jesus loves you before. What else do you know about Jesus? (Allow children to respond). He died; God raised him; and he was alive. Then Jesus spent forty days talking to his followers and teaching them many great things.
He met his disciples on the mountain and they saw him go up into the clouds and return to heaven to be with God. Before Jesus left, he gave his followers instructions on what to do while on this earth. (Read verses 19-20 out loud from your Bible.)
What did he tell the disciples? You must go and make disciples. Baptize and teach people about the love of Jesus. Remember Jesus will be with you always.
How many of you were baptized when you were babies? We begin the story of our lives as Christians with baptism. Some are baptized as babies; some are baptized as youth during their confirmation; and some are baptized as adults. Regardless of when we are baptized, once we are, we should carry the good news of Jesus into the world.
“Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you” tells us that Jesus wants us to teach others about the love of God. The greatest commandment that Jesus says we need to teach is to love God and love others as you love yourself. Jesus wants us to make God first in our lives. We can’t just tell others about the love of Jesus; we have to show it. We show love by our actions. We act like Jesus wants us to act, which means loving others as we love ourselves.
Following Jesus is something you can do right now. You don’t have to wait to be a grown-up, because Jesus wants children to follow him too. You can tell others about God’s love. Telling others about Jesus is called discipleship. Making disciples is something that you can do for the rest of your life.
If you think it might be hard to make followers of Jesus, remember that God helps us tell others about Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Let’s begin to spread the love of Jesus right now. I want you to find two people to tell “Jesus loves you” after we pray. (Encourage a child to tell the pastor.) If each of us tells two people, then they will tell two people; think of how many people will hear about Jesus. Throughout the rest of the day and the rest of your life, remember that Jesus is with you while you spread the news that Jesus loves you!
Let’s pray and ask God to help us spread the good news of Jesus.
God, please help us tell others about Jesus. Everywhere we go, help us show people all over the world to know how much Jesus loves them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.