Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sent Like Jesus

In John 20:21 Jesus makes the amazing statement: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  Do you believe this?  Do you see yourself sent like Jesus?  For that matter, how was Jesus sent?

I see four realities in the way the Father sent Jesus that should free us to also be sent like him.  Each are simple, yet powerful:

Jesus was sent as an ordinary man
Gene Peterson in The Message puts it this way, "and He became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood."  For the first 30 years of Jesus' life, he was just Jesus- the son of Joseph and Mary.  You know, the ones who claimed that God made Mary pregnant and then the king tried to kill their baby so they had to hide in Egypt. Yea, that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  Joseph was the carpenter that you went to when you needed a new porch or a new bed.  He was the guy everyone in the neighborhood knew.  Jesus was sent just like you and me. That is how God sends us with our neighbors knowing our families and us.  We are just to be ourselves with our personality, our skills, our quirky ways who have our own unique experience with God.  We cannot separate who God made us to be when we are sent, we will bring it with us just as Jesus did.

Jesus was sent by love in grace and truth
Because the Father loves everyone He created, He sent Jesus.  For the same reason and full of the same love, Jesus sends us into a world starved for love.  The world searches everywhere to find some offer of love - bad relationships, pornography, homosexuality... the list goes on.  We carry the only True love, full of grace and truth.  People so badly need grace and acceptance.  Christ said He came not to judge, yet His church is often known as a place of judgement.   He came to bring truth; not truth that hurts, but truth that sets people free.  Christ invites us to engage in the simple act of loving people by offering them grace that they've never known. This along with good truth will set them, the love-starved, free.

Jesus was sent to the lost
Where did Jesus live?  What were the great accusations by religious leaders against Him?  He lived in the midst of those in need of the love.  He lived with the lost.  Where do we live our lives? Do we live as neighbors to the lost? Too often the walls of the church keep us from living where Jesus lived.  There are opportunities all around us to meet people hurting for love.  All God is asking is that we live like Jesus among those who need us most.  Where in your daily circles - work, social, community, super market - are there people that God would like to use you to love?  Learn to see His creation through the compassionate eyes of Jesus.

Jesus was sent to make disciples
A few years back, the question "What would Jesus do?" became a popular slogan.  However, the simple answer got lost in the church.  Jesus didn't come to make believers or followers, although that first step is important.  He came to make obedient disciples.  He says "As you go, make disciples".  So how are we doing?  Do we begin each day with the simple mission statement of Jesus?  Today, how can you - an ordinary person - find those in need, love them in grace and truth, and help them become disciples of Christ obeying all He commands?

Each one of these four simple statements is both powerful, yet simple.  Being sent like Jesus asks nothing more than being yourself and obedience to Christ.  Today, may you go out like Jesus ...