“As the Father has sent Me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)
In last Sunday’s worship services, we shared briefly about our recent Puerto Rico mission trip. At the conclusion, I expressed appreciation that we have “a church that sends.” That is, that sends people out on mission trips. I saw questioning looks on people’s faces, and realized you all heard it as “sins.” As in, I am glad we have “a church that sins.” I had to clarify and emphasize the “d’.
Jesus was not confused by such homonyms. He was all for sending, but not for sinning. In fact, He spoke the words above to His disciples, and I think He still speaks those words to us as His disciples today. In fact, when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee two thousand years ago, He talked often about being sent–about the Father sending Him, and Him sending us.
I would even say that the word “sent” is the key to understanding John’s Gospel; it is found more frequently than the three L’s that are usually associated with John’s writing: light, life, and love.
So what does it mean to be sent? We understand the meaning well when we mail letters or send packages via UPS or FedEx. And most of us have a “Sent” box in our email or social networking accounts. But what does it mean for a person to be sent? The word implies going somewhere, or being somewhere, by someone else’s command, for a specific purpose. I believe Jesus lived His life out of a deep sense of being “sent.” He had been sent to earth by the Father, for a purpose, and He lived that purpose out every day.
What was that purpose? And likewise, what is our purpose? Jesus said Himself that He had come to “seek and to save those who were lost.” (Luke 19:11) And so, He tells us, our purpose is also to seek and find those who are lost without Christ and share with them the life-changing message Jesus came to share with us.
Some people spend their whole lives trying to determine why they are here, and what their “purpose in life” is. Fortunately, Jesus has already solved that riddle for us, telling us why we we have been “sent” here. That sure takes a lot of pressure off. Now, it’s a matter of our living out the purpose He gave us. “As the Father has sent Me, even so send I you.”
God, the Father, sent the Son to you and to me. The question is, to whom has the Son sent you? I pray that you’ll be an instrument of His love and grace and truth this week in the lives of those He’s placed around you.
I am so grateful to be a pastor of a church that sends, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.