Summary: the word ‘sent’ in Greek is the same root word as apostle. So apostle means ‘one who is sent out in the name of Jesus.’ That means every disciple makes a life commitment to Jesus’ mission. Every Christian has within himself or herself the potential for a
Sent, Part 1
We’re spending the next few weeks in the second recorded sermon of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. This is the commissioning of the disciples to go out and minister in the name of Jesus. One of the things we see is the type of people Jesus calls. If you or I were Jesus, we probably wouldn’t choose the people Jesus chose. I would go look for more prominent type people if I was going to build a worldwide mission. But Jesus chose ordinary people and in many cases social outcasts and people who were not successful. But there’s a reason that God can use these types of people: broken people know they need God. Religious people want Jesus in their life but not necessarily have him be their life. The problem becomes that they never ewant to leave their comfort zone to join Jesus in their mission. Broken people, hurting people, hungry people, desperate people know they need Jesus to be their life because there is no other hope.
Now the people Jesus called had their identity in their relationship with him. The first thing that Jesus calls us to is a relationship with him, not good works which are just a by-product of a relationship with God. We are not just to have a relationship with Jesus but rather to draw our identity and being from Jesus Christ. A lot of people believe in Jesus but their identity is in their profession, or in the kids or in their politics. But the people who Jesus called find their identity in Jesus Christ and it is this relationship which defines who they are and unites them with other followers of Jesus. Our unity is not based on ideologies, politics, morals and even enthnicity but rather our common identity in Jesus.
Now the word ‘sent’ in Greek is the same root word as apostle. So apostle means ‘one who is sent out in the name of Jesus.’ That means every disciple makes a life commitment to Jesus’ mission. Every Christian has within himself or herself the potential for a change the world movement through the Holy Spirit. And every believer in Jesus signs up for this mission. But what are we sent to do? The first verse of Jesus’ sermon answers that question when it says Jesus “gave them authority to drive out impure spirits.” This is the mission God has engaged us in and in the 8th verse he says we are to drive out demons. We are not to be bystanders in the faith where we come and learn religious things and are fed spiritually, we are to be partners in the ministry of Jesus. We are not to be bystanders but upstanders, we are to stand up for people who have fallen victim to evil in the world.
Who’s going to stand up for people who are sick, hurting, despised and taken advantage of? Let’s go to the story of the Hebrew people. In the book of Exodus we have the story of the Hebrew people’s deliverance. Four hundred years before this, the Hebrews went into Egypt due to drought and famine. Joseph, who was a Hebrew who had risen to high ranking position over the storage and distribution of food, provided food for Jews and they settled there and eventually prospered. As a result the Pharaohs feared them becoming a mighty people and so they enslaved them. In other words, the Hebrews were victims of evil. The Pharoah even ordered the death of all Hebrew babies and so Moses’ mother had to hide Moses. For generations the Hebrews cried out to God to deliver them, asking the question, how could God allow such evil to occur, especially to them. So Moses became a wanted man after stepping in to protect his Hebrew brothers and killing an Egyptian soldier. He started working for his father-in-law tending sheep and approaching 80 and he sees a burning bush which is on fire and not being consumed. “The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” You can almost hear Moses say, “it’s about time God! For generations we have cried out to you.” And God says, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” And Moses says, “I thought you were going to do it.” God responds, “I am…through you.” Now here’s the lesson for us: God never intervenes, except through a person. When a person cries to God in prayer, God says, “I hear your prayer. I am concerned. I am coming to do something about it and I am sending someone.” Who? You! This is what it means to say yes to Jesus. God never does anything without sending a person as an answer to prayer. There are mothers praying for their sons to get out of a gang. There are people praying for a job. There are the hungry praying for their next meal and you are the answer to their prayer. And we are the answer to that prayer.