‘As the Father sent me so I am sending you…’ – The heartbeat of mission
By Pastor Nathan Hedt
New and Renewing Churches
Chapter 20 of John ends with a powerful description of the purpose of the Gospel: ‘…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’
This echoes Jesus’ own statement of his purpose in John 10:10: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
There are so, so many people in Australia and New Zealand who are living but who don’t have life through believing in Jesus. In John 20, the risen Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’ The Father sent Jesus so that people might have life. Jesus likewise sent his disciples so that others might have life in his name. This is the heartbeat of mission. I believe that deep down, in the spiritual DNA of every single Christian, these words resonate – ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’
Mission is not about our own efforts to tell people the Gospel. It’s about participating with Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with what God is doing to bring people life.
And when we step into who we are, that is, people given life and sent by Jesus, our faith becomes real and tangible and joyful and alive in a way that perhaps we have loved and lost awhile. You see, this life of Jesus is designed and intended to be given away! When we keep it to ourselves – this best of news that Jesus is alive – something withers and dies a little inside us. When we give it away – this best of news – something revives and grows a little inside us.
Do you know some people who are living but who don’t have life? I’m sure you do. Pray for them. Pray for the Father’s heart for people who don’t have life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognise the small opportunities you are given to speak in small ways about Jesus. Ask for courage to step out of the locked doors of your heart (fear, shame, guilt, feeling inadequate or unskilled in sharing the gospel, fear of risking your friendships) and share life in Jesus’ name. Look for those small open doors of opportunity to speak in others’ lives – and step through them. As you do, the life you have will grow and flourish. And you will share life with others.
The more you give away the life of Jesus, the more it will grow in you!