When I was a kid my mom would send me to the corner store with a small list of specific things to pick up. I can vividly remember her telling me not to buy anything else. I often think about these times when I read John 6:38 and John 20:21 where Jesus tells the disciples where he came from and what he came to do. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” What does this mean about the way we are sent? Here are four ways Jesus was sent based on this verse:
- Sonship – Church planters, pastors, elders, deacons, and Christians in general may wear many hats but our primary identity is a son or daughter. As children of God we have been granted protection, provision, and privileges but we also have the responsibility to steward what God has given us as an inheritance. The most important relationship we have is with our heavenly Father. My kids have come by my office during work to “help me out.” In those moments I’m not concerned with their performance or work as much as I’m simply enjoying them being with me. To our heavenly Father, more important than our work is our worship.
- Servant – Jesus said the son of man came to serve and not be served and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). He was the suffering servant (Isa. 53) Jesus, the King of kings, who washed feet and taught that the servant is not greater than his master (John 13:1-17). Philippians tells us Jesus faithfully served to the point of death and even now, exalted, he sits at the right hand of the Father serving us through intercession. Servanthood is part of our spiritual DNA. We look like Jesus every time we serve others.
- Sacrifice – John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb that takes the sin of the world.” Jesus was sent as the perfect sacrifice by the Father for our redemption. In Luke 9:23 Jesus said “Whoever would come after me must pick up his cross, deny himself and follow me.” In Romans 12:1 Paul appeals to the readers “by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice.” The gospel call for salvation also comes with a call to lay down our lives in view of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. This is God’s gospel and mission which means God sets our priorities. The life of every believer requires us to submit our will to the Lord. Being sent like Jesus means praying “your will be done” just like Jesus.
- Sender – Jesus told the disciples early in the book of John that if they would follow him, he would make them fishers of men. His training of the disciples implied that one day they would be sent out. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped with Jesus’ teaching they would one day be sent to be senders. This is why we make disciples, why we raise our children in the Lord (See Eph. 6:12), and why we plant churches that plant churches. As the church, we are not only the called out ones – we are also the sent ones.
The Father sent the Son to accomplish a specific mission: to preach the Kingdom, to lay his life down, and rise again to rule with all power and authority. Since Jesus was successful in what he was sent to do we can go into the world as his ambassadors, confidently knowing that God will never fail.