What is the Great Commission? What does “commission” mean? Who can and should share the Gospel? Let’s take a look.
“Theology for Kids.” What does that mean?
Theology is simply a big word meaning “the study of God.” You don’t have to wait until you are a teenager or an adult to start learning about God. Pastors and others who have read a lot of books sometimes like to use fancy words when they talk about God-stuff. Once a month in our “Big Word Breakdown,” we’ll take one of those hard words and explain it for kids (and adults) in plain English.
What is the Great Commission?
When people talk about the “Great Commission,” they mean Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus is about to go up into heaven to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). Before He goes, He has one last thing to say to His disciples, His followers. Jesus had told them many things, but because these were His last words on earth, they are extra special. Listen to what Jesus told them:
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 28:18-20 (NIV)
Have you heard these verses before? Let’s look at them a little closer.
What does “commission” mean?
Commission can have more than one meaning.
It could be a small part of money earned from making a sale. Does that fit the verses above?
Commission could also mean a special job to do or a group of people working on a special job. Does that fit the verses above?
A third meaning is usually used with inanimate objects. When something is in commission, it is in good working order (like “The motor was out of commission, but I fixed it.”). Does that fit the verses above?
Jesus said He had the authority to give us a special job. (Which definition is that?) The way He said all of this means that when we do these things, we are doing it for Jesus and in His name. That means we are acting on Jesus’ behalf. It is a commission—marching orders for us to follow. Jesus has other things He needs to be doing right now, so He asked us to do this for Him. He commissioned us to do it. It’s a big job and one we cannot do on our own. That is why God gives us the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).
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Still confused? Here is an example of following a commission. Have your parents ever asked you to do something for them? Maybe you gave a note to someone for them or delivered a message. Was that your words that you said or was it what your mom, dad, or grandparent told you to say? The person who read the note or heard your message knew that you were speaking for an adult, right? He or she knew you were commissioned to give him or her that special message.
Who was Jesus commissioning?
Read Matthew 28:18-20 again. Jesus was talking to His eleven disciples (see verse 16), but He told them to teach others to do the same thing He told them to do. Do you see any age limits in these verses? Do you see a “must be 18 to apply” or a height restriction like on some rides? Do you see a retirement age for when you should stop? Does it say, “it is your job if you are a pastor or on the staff of a church to make disciples”? I don’t see any of that. Do you? It’s a good idea to talk to leaders at your church if someone wants to be baptized. They will probably want to talk to that person some more about how he or she came to trust Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior. That doesn’t mean church leaders are the only people who can tell about Christ. Every follower of Jesus can make disciples and teach people to obey everything God told us to do in the Bible. Do you know why? Because Jesus is with you (verse 20).
How do I “make disciples”?
Making disciples doesn’t have to be scary. It simply means to tell people about Jesus. Tell people what you are learning at church or in Bible study. Ask people how you can pray for them. Share cool things you see God doing or ways He’s answered prayer. If some of your friends are also Christians, why not study the Bible together? You could take turns rereading something you studied in Sunday school or at home and then talking about it together. Simply share what you’ve learned. Write down your questions to ask someone who might know. Be sure to pray together. Maybe you could start a prayer group at your school. Talk to your parents and an adult in the school office to set up a time to meet and pray. Then invite your friends. You can pray for your teachers, school, neighborhood, and country as well as yourselves. You might also take time to praise God and thank Him for all He is and all He has done. (Note to parents: Students are allowed to have religious groups on a public school campus as long as they are student led. Be sure to check the guidelines at your child’s school. Read more in this post.) Anyone can do that, even kids. Who can you tell about Jesus or the Bible? As you pray today, be sure to ask God to show you who you can tell about Jesus. He will provide opportunities, especially when we ask Him. Ask God to give you courage and the words to say and He will. How are you “making disciples”? Share your ideas and stories below. Similar posts: The Pumpkin Gospel for Kids and How to Tell People About Jesus