In the previous post we looked at the Old Testament with a very wide-angled lens and saw that God moves people for His purposes. The prime example being Abraham. The Old Testament reveals that God is intent on repairing the “Eden incident” by revealing His ways and asking Israel to live according to them. The Law and the Prophets set the bar, but humanity failed to meet it.
Enter Jesus, stage right.
Jesus is the epitome of what we now understand a “missionary” to be: one sent forth by God for a specific purpose. While being God He was sent by God to activate the next part of God’s grand plan. Jesus was God’s weapon of mass Sin destruction, and He knew it. Jesus’ entire ministry was a message from the Father about what the Great Change would look like. “The Kingdom of God is like…” Jesus would say. Then Jesus would do, and people saw for themselves what life would be like with Sin vanquished.
God detonated His Jesus weapon at the cross. The blast lasted for three days through to the resurrection, but the impact of that blast will be felt through ‘til the end of time. People are still discovering what it means to be FREE from the destructive influence of Sin and Satan’s manipulation of it for his demonic purposes. Jesus rose victorious and regained all authority in heaven and on earth. Sound familiar? That’s the Big News, the Gospel: there has been a power-shift on the earth from the domination of the tyrant Satan to the restoration of the loving Father who delegates the management of His affairs to the trusted Son. That is Jesus’ mission – to manage the extension of God’s influence in the world. The Son then co-missions His followers to spread the word – “the change has happened!” To prove it God acts by way of His Spirit to confirm with signs and wonders following the announcement, the most marvellous of which is the radical change in receptive human beings.
“Salvation” isn’t simply preparedness for heaven when we die, it is FREEDOM from the domain of Satan and the influence of Sin right now. When someone believes in Jesus and pursues a new relationship with God they step through a portal into a new reality – the gateway to life (see Matthew 7:14). The initial impact of that happens at the core of a person’s being, your spirit; but it doesn’t end there. Your personality and way of thinking begins a process of transformation, which often effects physical change. It then reverberates out into your sphere of influence: your interpersonal relationships, your community involvement, and your positive interaction with the environment around you. Salvation from the dominion of Satan under the control of Sin has very real-world and very global implications.
Absolutely no ‘human’ initiative can solve the world’s problems – not the UN, not global summits or forceful lobby groups, not powerful governments, not even some sort of global control. The Missio Dei is to transform from within – one heart at a time – until the time is right for the final change when ALL things will be made new. That time is coming. Jesus will return in manifest power.
So what is our part to play? Are we still co-missioned by Jesus today? The short answer is “yes”. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus your co-mission is the same as the first century disciples’ – to replicate yourself wherever you go. Matthew 28:16-20 explains this in no uncertain terms. We are to “make disciples” (students of Jesus). We are disciples making disciples. We are to teach others how to learn from Jesus about living out this new reality He called “The Kingdom of God”.
And we are to do it wherever He puts us. The Missio Dei is to see this reverberate out into all nations. Your mission is to live according to this new reality and replicate His followers wherever He locates you in whatever unique ways He has enabled you to do it. Therein you will discover blessing beyond anything any humanly motivated purpose can provide.
While the word “mission” may not appear in the Bible we can clearly see it intended in the way God is unfolding His plan to reclaim a fallen world. Why is God on this mission? Because He alone deserves to be worshipped. He is the glorious one and all “glory” (honour, splendour, praise, adoration, etc) belongs to Him. In human terms this seems to lack a certain… humility, but we can’t assess God by human terms. As Pastor John Piper has written, “mission exists because worship doesn’t” (Let The Nations Be Glad, 2003).
Follower of Jesus, your mission, should you desire to accept it, is to go replicate yourself! 👊🏽