“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” ~John 20:21-22
The Father sent the Son here on a mission. God perfected Jesus through his obedience, he protected Jesus and provided for him, he confirmed him and filled him with the Holy Spirit. And he promised ridicule and rejection and even death. But God sent the Son here to serve and to bless the world. Now the Christ tells us, “I’m sending you to do the same things in the same way.” And he empowers us. He breathes on us and gives us his Spirit.
What are we afraid of? Why do we hesitate or hold back?
Mission is not one of the Church’s programs. As followers of the King, mission is who we are. All of us are sent by God in Christ to be a blessing. To serve. To rescue and heal and love and bless just like Jesus who says the student should be like his teacher and the servant should be like her master.
Student and teacher. Servant and master.
You know, it’s a lot easier to just be a fan of God. I can be a great fan of God. Jesus is the mascot. Weekly worship and a Bible study now and then is the show. The church is the audience. And I can get my religious fix when I want it.
Or I can be an admirer of Jesus. I can read a lot of books about Jesus, I can learn a lot of Scriptural language and I can quote Jesus and become a real Jesus expert. He’s so great!
Or I can be a believer in Jesus. I can memorize all the doctrines and recite all the theological truths and win a lot of arguments.
No. The student should be like his teacher. The servant should be like his master.
Here’s where I get into trouble. See if this is true for you. When I read the Scriptures, my tendency is to pay more attention to the nouns than the verbs. When we put the nouns first, when we concentrate on the nouns, we spend all our time translating and defining and exegeting and interpreting. And we go back and forth with different contexts. The culture was like this. The name of the mountain means that. This word in the original language implied something else. And we don’t have to land anywhere or do anything. Nouns in the Bible are tough. And if we emphasize the nouns, they can actually separate us from the Story. They can create distance between us and the script.
Verbs, though… verbs are every day and easy. Verbs are cross-cultural. They’re timeless. You don’t need a translation. There’s no distance. We share the verbs with all peoples for all time. We share the verbs with Jesus. The fastest way to make a script out of Scripture is to emphasize the verbs.
God tells Abram to go. He tells Moses to speak. God tells Joshua to lead. He tells Isaiah to prophesy. Mary, give birth to the Savior of the World. Paul, take Christ to the Gentiles.
God has put his Church on a mission. He’s put you — you forgiven and saved and Holy Spirit-indwelled Christ-follower — he’s put you on a mission. We’re in a position right now, you’re in a place right now, to do more for the Kingdom of our Father and to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus than has ever been done in your community before! That’s the call. And that’s our Lord’s expectation.
Pick your favorite Bible story this weekend — I don’t care which one, just pick one. Now read it out loud and pay special attention to the verbs. Maybe try employing a couple of those verbs into your prayers this weekend. Become more like the student, more like the servant our Lord is calling you to be. You’ve got his Spirit inside you. What’s holding you back?