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Ascension Sunday (Ages 3-6): Disciples


We know that after Jesus dies and rises to new life, never to die again, he spends forty days appearing to his disciples. They talk with him, eat with him, and spend time rejoicing with him that his Risen life will never end. After forty days, Jesus returns to his Father in heaven. We call this the Ascension into heaven. "Ascend" means to rise from a lower level to a higher level. Jesus has already risen from ordinary life on earth to the life that will never end, and on this day we celebrate his Risen life together with God. He seems to be leaving them, but he promises to be with them always.

Before he ascends into heaven, Jesus says,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”

Jesus gives the disciples something important to do. He wants them to make more disciples. He wants them to do this in all nations, in all the countries of the world. But across the world, people speak different languages. How can the disciples make new disciples if they cannot speak different languages?

Jesus tells them how to make disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

Baptizing! Interesting. Jesus wants the disciples to baptize other people to make them disciples. We know that our parents wanted us to be baptized. They may even have thought that it was their idea to bring us to be baptized. But whose idea was it first?

We think a lot about our baptism. We know that we receive the Holy Spirit when the water filled with the Spirit is poured over our head. We know that those same words are said, just as Jesus says them in the Gospel, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." We know that we are baptized into all of God.

But have we considered that baptism makes us disciples?

What is a disciple?

We hear that word a lot when we listen to the Word of God. The people who follow Jesus as he teaches about the Kingdom of God are called his "disciples." The people who stand on the mountain with him in this Sunday's Gospel are Jesus' disciples. Disciples are people who learn from someone—who follow someone. Disciples are followers.

We know something else about followers of Jesus.

“The Good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3b-4)

Now we are told that we become disciples of Jesus when we are baptized. We are followers of Jesus because Jesus wants it that way.

Jesus says,

“And remember, I am with you always”

Of course he promises to be with them always—the Good Shepherd is always together with his sheep!

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