“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’” (John 20:21 ESV)
Many are familiar with the Great Commission ushered by Jesus at the end of Matthew’s gospel account. We are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, we often treat it frivolously, or misunderstand Jesus’ powerful command was different for us than the apostles. When Jesus was commissioning the disciples, He wasn’t just referring to the 11 Jewish fishermen that left everything to follow Him, our Lord was speaking to us as well––and with the same magnitude.
In order for us to understand how we are sent out into the world on mission, we must have an idea of how Jesus modeled being on mission while in the flesh. According to the gospel, Jesus came “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28 ESV) by caring for the hungry, healing the sick, casting out demons, submitting to the will of the Father, and throughout the gospel, we see that Jesus relied upon the power of the Spirit to do ministry. Why?
Jesus set the example for future generations––those after the Pentecost––when He is at the right hand of the Father and the Holy Spirit is dwelling within every Christ follower, as to how we reach the lost and spread the good news of Christ into the world.
Unfortunately, what a vast majority of the church doesn’t realize is that we weren’t given the Holy Spirit to sit comfortably in “our seat” in church and go to small group once a week. God chooses to give us His Spirit to empower us on a death-defying, God-glorifying, self-denying mission to spread the gospel at all costs.
We should be so in awe of God’s great mercy and love showered out upon us on the cross that we, being ignited by the fire of the Spirit, should desire nothing else than to see the lost world reconciled to the Father. That was Jesus’ goal. Shouldn’t it be ours?
Living radical, missional lives for God’s glory is difficult, tiring, and requires daily surrender; but the steadfast love of our gracious Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit is far greater than the trials we will face. We are never at the short end of the stick, but rather we have everything we could ever long for inherited through Christ’s death and resurrection. Not even death can keep us from the all-sufficient love of God through Jesus (read Romans 8 until you’re blue in the face).
Jesus didn’t call us to lives on mission to burden us with an unrewarding task, but He’s inviting us to take part in the most exciting life.
The glory of God alone should incite a response to live missional lives. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the weight of the call. However, until we realize we are on mission not only for Jesus, but that we are in every literal sense on mission with Jesus, we regard living for the glory of His name as mundane rather than insane. Instead, our mindset should be as so: “It’s insane that God would call me to be a witness of His omnipotence and glory, while seeing the Kingdom expand firsthand!” The beauty is that our splendorous King calls everyone to witness and be witnesses of His glory through the gospel, not just the “super Christians.” We need to rethink what a missional lifestyle actually looks like.
Being on mission doesn’t mean leaving on a plane to go to Africa first thing tomorrow. Living the “sent life” means recognizing your mission field is all around you––your work places, your schools, even your own homes.
(That’s not to say that many won’t be called to go overseas. God will burden hearts for various nations, but it starts with being aware of the unreached where we are now.)
How do we start? Just as Jesus depended on communication with the Father, so should we. Prayer is our fuel and our most powerful weapon as followers of Jesus. It’s what equips us to combat the enemy in this battle for souls.
We are obligated to press into the power of prayer daily, pleading for the lost to be found, the spiritually blind to see, and for the church to rise up to go to the ends of the earth!
Just as the Father sent the Son, Christ is sending us to be with Him on mission by the Spirit’s power. May the cry of our hearts be, “Send us, Lord!”