I admit it. I LOVE cartoons! Perhaps that makes me a big kid at heart, I don’t know. But, I love watching them (and often use my nephew as an excuse to do so). Even in my 20s before he came along I was watching Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and sometimes I’d even sneak in a little Disney. In fact, that’s how I came across this catchy slogan – “Verb. It’s what you do.” In my opinion, this was an awesome ad campaign created by the Center for Disease Control to get kids moving and exercising. Every time I watched my favorite cartoons the commercial was guaranteed to play. I liked it so much, I quickly integrated it into my grammar lessons for my students. It is so simple to remember and it emphasizes the purpose of this part of speech- to show action.
Last Sunday during our Children’s Message I shared this great slogan with the children. David Joseph preached about “Passing On the Legacy of Our Faith”, using Matthew 28:16-20 as the text. Most Christians know this passage very well so I wanted to give them exposure to it before transitioning into Children’s Church on the 3rd floor. This passage is after Jesus’ resurrection, just before He ascends to heaven. He provides His disciples with a few parting words, which we know as “The Great Commission”. In it, Jesus provides clarity on what our mission as Christians is. Yes, He is telling us what to do.
Looking specifically at verses 19 and 20, there are a number of verbs in this passage. So, what have we been called to do?
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Go: We must share the good news with others. Simply worshipping on Sunday and attending classes isn’t enough. It is imperative (and expected by Jesus) that we venture outside the four walls of our church, outside our comfort zones, into our communities, schools, and uncommon places to share what we know and believe about our Lord and Savior.
Teach: It isn’t enough to say we’re a Christian. We need to show others what that means. The children shared ways that they can teach others, such as sharing that God loves us and sent Jesus to die for our sins. Yes! This is a truth that all need to hear and understand. Also, we can teach others about Jesus through our life, modeling the character of a disciple of Christ.
Baptizing: For the children, we discussed how to get people connected to pastors, preachers, deacons, etc. that can help with processing the decision for baptism and then completing the act. As witnesses, we can guide and support others with this vital life decision that has eternal implications.
Observe: Again, our life can be a model of how to live out our faith and observe God’s commands and principles.
There are some additional verbs in this passage. In verse 20, we see that Jesus did something. He commanded us to do these actions. It wasn’t a suggestion or a hope. No, it was and continues to be an expectation for every believer.
Now, for the part that gets me extra excited! There is a linking verb here. By definition, linking verbs don’t show action but instead they connect the subject to the verb by sharing information about the subject. Verse 20b states “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” In this affirmation, am is the linking verb. This word is telling us information about our subject (Jesus). This verse states that He is always with us. So, as we go, He is there. As we teach, He is there. As we baptize, He is there. When we observe all these things, He is there. Even unto the end of the world, He is there. At all times, no matter how bleak or challenging, frightening or uncertain- HE IS THERE! As we put these verbs into practice, Jesus is right there leading, guiding and helping the entire way. That is an awesome truth to know and promise to hold onto.