Posted by GregQualls | Posted in Discipleship, Re:Train, Religion/Spirituality | Posted on 02-11-2009
Jesus was sent on mission into our world. God the Father sent Jesus into this world to “seek and save the lost.”[i] As we are made into the image of Christ we are sent too. From the beginning, Jesus’ desire wasn’t for us to receive his gift of salvation and then be whisked off to heaven. Jesus’ prayer for us as his disciples was clear and simple.
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.[ii]
As Christ followers, we have been blessed with a great gift. Jesus has trusted us to share his good news with those around us. This is a beautiful and simple task, but it isn’t easy. Just as the world was against Jesus, it will be against us. Jesus didn’t send us into the world alone though.
When Jesus told his disciple to love one another in John 13:34-35, he wasn’t telling them to live in loving community for the benefit of each other (although there are benefits to living in loving community). It was for the benefit of those around them. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”[iii] We are called to share the good news of Jesus through the instrument of community.
There are two areas that can hurt our mission to image Jesus to the world that are found in Jesus’ prayer in John 17:14-18. The first is if we are part of the world. Jesus was not of this world. He lived differently than everyone around him. He handled money differently. He handled relationships differently. He handled work differently. He handled family differently. He handled love differently. Jesus lived a life different from the world around him. We are called to do the same thing. By living differently than the world around us, we bring the focus to Jesus who is the instrument of salvation.
The second area that can hinder our mission is if we separate ourselves from the world. Jesus was different as he was in the world. He didn’t escape the dirt and evil of this world, but instead dived deep into it to shine His light into the darkness. He ate and drank with alcoholics, corrupt city officials, prostitutes, self-righteous religious leaders, disease- infested street dwellers, and blue-collar workers. Who cares if we have the hope of Jesus if it doesn’t make a difference in the world around us? Like Jesus, we are sent into the world and share that hope. We glorify Jesus when we are in the world but not of the world. Spend this week focusing on how you are sent to be a light in this dark and dying world.
[i] Luke 19:10 (ESV)
[ii] John 17:14-18 (ESV)
[iii] John 13:35 (ESV)