When I was young, if my mother needed to scold me, she would say , “What was the last thing I told you?” She always told me the most important detail at the end because I would be more likely to remember it.
This month’s Church calendar reminds us of much, including the Ascension on Thursday 25 May, when we remember Jesus leaving this earth in bodily form to join his heavenly Father and to sit in glory.
We have several accounts of the Ascension. In some respects the most interesting is Matthew 28. It does not mention Jesus departing from sight but it does record Jesus’ very last words to us. ‘The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 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, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
Jesus tells us to teach and make disciples. We are called to be children of God. There is no mention in the Bible of grandchildren. We are first-hand disciples or not disciples at all.
Secondly, Jesus tells us to baptise these disciple in order to be ‘with us to the end of the age’ because it’s in baptism that most Christians are first filled the Holy Spirit. Only with the Spirit can we start the true, life-long journey of faith and enter the ranks of the disciples.
What was the last thing Jesus taught us? It was one of the most important teachings he ever gave.