In this weeks Bible story, Jesus sends his disciples out to live for him and help others to live for him too.
Jesus’ eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee.Jesus had told them to meet him on a mountain there and that is where they were heading. As they approached the mountain, they saw the risen Jesus standing there and many of them worshipped him. But others doubted – they weren’t sure it was Jesus.
Jesus came to them all and said, ‘I have been given all power in heaven and on earth. So go from here. Tell people about God. Make disciples all over the world. Baptise people in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Share with them all that I have taught you and help them to obey my commandments. And remember, I will always be with you, until the very end of time.’
commandments: a set of rules to follow in life, given by God.
Talk together with children
- What kind of feelings did Jesus’ disciples have in the story?
- How did you first hear about Jesus?
- Is it easy to tell people about Jesus? Why or why not?
Talk together with young people
- What does this tell us about Jesus?
- How does Jesus involve the disciples in the life of God?
- What challenges you about Jesus’ final message?
Place a bottle of cola in a space (ideally outside – this will be messy!) and gather everyone round. Drop a mint (Mentos™ work well – one is enough but add more for more effect!) into the bottle and watch as the liquid bursts out and overflows. Explore together how this illustrates the way that Jesus’ story flowed into the world as he sent his disciples out.
Make a hand print globe
While you are making your globe think about any missionaries you may know who have spread God's word around the world. eg. Mary Slessor, Eric Liddell. If you haven't heard of them maybe you could find out about them or others.
What could you do to share your faith ?
Think about who you might share news about Jesus with this week and then do it – using words or action.
Links to this weeks worksheet and colouring page
Jesus said, go and make disciples. With our friends, we are friends of Jesus; with our families, we are friends of Jesus; at school, we are friends of Jesus; everywhere we go, we are friends of Jesus. Jesus, give us actions and words that show others we are your friends. Amen.
Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers
- Matthew 28.16-20 are the concluding words of Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus gathers his disciples together on the mountain to speak his last words over them, before he ascends to heaven. The details of the ascension are not explored here, as Matthew chooses to place his emphasis on Jesus’ final instructions.
- In verse 17, Matthew explores how all the disciples worshipped him, though some doubted. Even here, in this community of worship, there is room for doubters, those who have questions to ask. The Greek words are actually both participles, ‘worshipping’ and ‘doubting’, so it could be that the same disciples are doing both actions.
- The words of Jesus’ closing command over his followers, in verse 19, ‘Go…and make disciples…’ often loses its emphasis in translation: ‘Go’ was not the instruction, but rather, ‘As you are going…make disciples.’ The understanding is that Jesus’ disciples will move out from this place, and as they do so, their instruction is to make more disciples.
- These readings for today all share a focus on the importance of words – in creation, in reconciliation, in making new disciples. But these words are not to be empty; they become life-giving for the world when they derive their power from the very character of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This final commission is our commission too. Wherever we are going, we are to make disciples, passing on the story and bringing others into our family of faith.
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Siyahamba (We are marching in the light of God) The Cathedral was introduced to this great hymn from South Africa by the Choir, who always give a very spirited rendering of it. When they were on a Choir Tour some years ago, they visited Bath Abbey just to look round and gave an impromptu performance of ‘Siyahamba’. It was so full of energy and joy that other visitors stopped in their tracks and gave them a big round of applause. We all join in now, but haven’t yet achieved the fantastic dancing that you’ll find on at least one version to watch. Perhaps you could practise and give us a demonstration when we all get to meet again!
Children’s choir with dancing; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KZbMprW8U Children’s choir with words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBgWVV5R_Qs Adult choir with beautiful pictures:https://www.youtube.com/watchv=nmmfSq9lYFI
This hymn is all about promising to follow Christ and to do God’s work and it was written by someone who believed in doing that herself. Frances Havergal (1836-1879) was the daughter of a Church of England clergyman who also wrote hymns. She was very well educated, widely travelled, learnt Greek, Latin and Hebrew, played the piano and sang as a concert soloist when she was well enough. She apparently wrote this hymn on 4th February 1874 in great excitement “too happy to sleep”. She had been staying as a house guest along with ten others who by the end of the visit had promised to become committed Christians. The words of her hymn sum up what this means.
Congregation with words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTy0zvUrgS4
The tune is ‘Nottingham’, a very singable, lilting melody in 3 time. It didn’t begin life as a hymn tune but is thought to have been adapted from a melody by an Austrian composer Wenzel Müller (1767-1835) who wrote music for the theatre.