When we take up the Word of God in our hands and begin to read, we must reckon that what we are reading is powerful; the very words of God! So much so, that even one phrase recorded for us by our Lord and Savior is astounding when we consider all that is packed into it. In John 20 verse 21 we find such a phrase. It is here that Jesus instructs His disciples with the mission they are to carry out in His stead. Notice His instruction:
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21
This instruction begins with the phrase, "Peace be unto you:..." Three times in this chapter our Lord issues this statement of peace to those troubled men. (John 20:19, 21, 26) The task they would set forth on required the peace of God upon their lives. In fact, in this very statement of commission, they would find peace. What do we notice about the words that follow this statement of peace?
First we see the:
Pattern of the Commission
What was the pattern of the commission? We see that the pattern begins with God. Notice that God the Father sent God the Son. "...as my Father hath sent me..." How are we to understand this? Among the many deep things of God mentioned in the Bible, this is hard to comprehend. But we can understand what God has given us to understand in His Word. For example in Acts 2: 22, 23 the Bible tells us:
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"
This sending of Jesus Christ by the Father is outlined for us in the phrase, "...Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken..." By the way, these words given to us in the book of Acts make it clear that those who delivered Christ were in no wise relieved in their responsibility, but yet God is still sovereign. Then in Colossians 1:18 we find this about our wonderful Lord and Savior:
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
The preeminence of Christ speaks to Him being chief or first. Jesus Christ is to whom we are to be conformed. Just as He was commissioned by God the Father, so we are commissioned by the Son of God. The pattern for our lives is ever before us in the Bible. It was necessary in all things that He might have the preeminence. Books upon books have been written concerning this matter we call "the Great Commission" and yet the Book contains the pattern for you and I.
Not only do we see the pattern of the Commission but we also see the
Pattern of our Commission
In this verse we go from the macro to the micro. The big picture is God's reconciling of man unto Himself. Jesus Christ is able to save us to the uttermost. The work of redemption is "finished” and so our labor follows His work. The Lord gives us the pattern of our Commission and we notice first that He is our example. When we look at how we are to engage people, not only Jesus is our Lord and Savior, but He is also our teacher and example. Albert Barnes in commenting on this passage had this to say concerning verse 21, "As God sent me to preach, to be persecuted, and to suffer; to make known his will, and to offer pardon to men, so I send you. This is the design and the extent of the commission of the ministers of the Lord Jesus. He is their model; and they will be successful only as they study his character and imitate his example.” Please note that the Biblical term is to be conformed to the image of Christ not simply imitation. This Commission is often isolated in our teaching to Soul-Winning, but truly our Commission is a calling for us to die to self and live our lives "in Christ." Paul put it this way, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
In Matthew 4:19, we are further shown this in Jesus' statement to the disciples. "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The word used here for follow gives the indication of "in the footsteps of" or "after Jesus." We follow in His footsteps. We walk the Calvary road to a place of death to self. Although the terms walking alongside of Jesus and the popular plaque depicting "footprints of Jesus" abound, the truth is we are called to the cross. Every Christian desires the fruit, but by necessity the fruit entails abiding in the vine. There is no such thing as a trouble-less Christ follower. He is our example.
Secondly we find this great truth: our enablement. The two words used by our Savior for "sending" speak both to "a setting apart" and also "a divine enablement." This is clear as in one verse later (vs. 22) we find, "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" Our enablement is dependent upon the indwelling presence and work of Holy Ghost; "...Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27) We find the equipping necessary for the task when our Savior said "...so send I you." We can thank the Lord that He is sending us for without Him we can do nothing! His abiding presence and our yielding to Him enable us for the impossible task of delivering the precious seed, the Word of God. We can rejoice and know the very words are true when our Saviour stated, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20)
- Pastor James, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
Showing People the Way to God
- Personal Evangelism
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