Ye shall be witnesses unto me… unto the uttermost part of the earth.
It must have been the most incredible experience for the disciples to walk with Jesus every day for three years… to listen to Him teach, to experience His miracles, to feel His abundant love and encouragement in the flesh.
I can’t even imagine how they must have felt when He was crucified and all that was ripped away from them. Not fully understanding the reality of resurrection and the words He taught about His own, I am sure their grief was deep for those couple of days when they thought all was lost and wondered what had happened.
Oh, the joy that must have enveloped them when they started to have encounters with their risen Lord one small group at a time.
And yet… they still didn’t understand what He expected of them.
I love picturing myself in that small group of fishermen on the shores of the sea of Tiberias as Jesus sat with them, ate with them, and once again called them to leave their nets and feed His sheep. That moment when understanding finally began to dawn.
I am sure that Jesus taught His disciples so much over the forty days He spent with them following His resurrection. I’m sure they listened closely knowing that He was going to be leaving the responsibility of leading the church with them very soon. He taught them about the Holy Ghost. He taught them about the kingdom of God. He gave them their commission… to be special witnesses of Him to all the earth. And then He left.
They took that commission seriously. They gathered and taught and sacrificed for Christ. And most especially, they witnessed of Him and His gospel to anyone and everyone who would listen.
Is this great commission for those eleven men alone? No. It continues in our day.
A prophet’s commission is to be a special witness of Jesus Christ, to speak the mind of God, and to preach repentance to God’s children. Each conference we sustain each of our modern-day apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. This calling means they have the same exact commission as the disciples of old.
I think we sometimes don’t contemplate the weight of this role.
Elder Hales taught in the 1996 April conference, “Upon receiving revelation, prophets have no choice but to proclaim and reaffirm that which God has given them to tell the world. Prophets do this knowing full well the price they may have to pay.”
Many of them through the ages have paid a heavy price to be the mouthpiece of God.
I believe people choose to be offended or angry when their sins or even just their weaknesses are pointed out to them. Human nature (especially when we are in a prideful state of mind) dictates that we don’t want to change and we don’t want to be told we need to. It is easier to deny this need and be angry at the messenger than to humble ourselves and repent. And yet, they stay faithful to their commission.
I am so grateful for all the prophets and apostles that have been called of God during my lifetime! I have heard and read their words and because of them I have been able to draw closer to Christ and learn how to have His Spirit more abundantly in my life.
I love this video from 13 years ago and these testimonies that have become a part of mine! He lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ https://youtu.be/9ddXNF29goo
As I have come to better understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have also come to understand that this commission falls on all disciples of Christ. We each have a responsibility to gather, to teach, and to sacrifice for Christ. Most especially we have a duty to witness of Him to anyone and everyone who will listen. This might feel daunting. I’m sure it did for the eleven He left standing on the mountain as He ascended to heaven, but it doesn’t have to be.
There have been so many recent conference talks that have tried to help us understand that this can come in normal and natural ways. We can share our witness from the pulpit on fast Sundays, to the classes we teach, to our children as we visit around the dinner table. We can have conversations with friends that naturally lead into our gratitude for His guidance and blessings in our lives. We can witness on social media when we find a scripture or conference talk that touches our hearts or after we have seen God’s hand in our lives in a hundred different way. The ideas are endless and they don’t have to be overwhelming, we can just choose to be more vocal with the thoughts of appreciation we feel in our hearts for the Savior and all He has done for us. In these small and simple ways, we are fulfilling the commission He has left with all of us.
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
Click on the images below to print out these FREE coloring pages from Rising Moon Adventures that I created to go with this lesson:
Primary Insights for Come Follow Me videos –
Song 1: The Commission by Cain
Song 2: I am a Witness by Shawna Edwards