Chapter 10 – Like Christ: In His Heavenly Mission

“As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”—John 17:18.

“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”—John 20:21.

The Lord Jesus lived here on earth under a deep consciousness of having a mission from His Father to fulfil. He continually used the expression, “The Father hath sent me.”

It will repay the trouble to compare carefully the following passages: John 5:24, 30, 37, 38; 6:38, 39, 40 , 44; 7:16, 28, 29, 3; 8:16, 18, 26, 29, 42; 9:4; 11:42; 12:44, 45, 49; 13:20; 14:24; 15:21; 16:25; 17:8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 20:21. Christ wanted men to know that He did not act independently, but on behalf of Another who had sent Him. The consiousness of a mission never left Him for a moment.
He knew what this mission was. He knew the Father had chosen Him, and sent Him into the world with the one puroose of fulfilling that mission, and He knew the Father would give Him all that He needed for it. Faith in the Father having sent Him was the motive and power for all that He did.
In earthly things it is a great help if an ambassador knows clearly what his mission is; that he has nothing to do but to care for its accomplishment; and that he has given himself undividedly to do this one thing. For the Christian it is of no less consequence that he should know that he has a mission, what its nature is, and how he is to accomplish it.

Our heavenly mission is one of the most glorious parts of our conformity to our Lord. He says it plainly in the most solemn moments of His life; “that EVEN AS the Father sent Him,” so He sends His disciples. He says it to the Father in His high-priestly prayer, as the ground upon which He asks for their keeping and sanctification. He says it to the disciples after His resurrection, as the ground on which they are to receive the Holy Spirit. Nothing will help us more to know and fulfil our mission than to realize how perfectly it corresponds to the mission of Christ, how they are, in fact, identical.

Our mission is like His in its object. Why did the Father send His Son? To make known His love and His will in the salvation of sinners. He was to do this, not alone by word and precept, but in His own person, disposition, and conduct to exhibit, the Father’s holy love. He was so to represent the unseen Father in heaven, that men on earth might know what like the Father was.

After the Lord had fulfilled His mission He ascended into heaven, and became to the world like the Father, the Unseen One. And now He has made over His mission to His disciples, after having shown them how to fulfil it. They must so represent Him, the Invisible One, that from seeing them men can judge what He is. Every Christian must so be the image of Jesus—must so exhibit in his person and conduct the same love to sinners, and desire for their salvation, as animated Christ, that from them the world may know what like Christ is. Oh, my soul! take time to realize these heavenly thoughts: Our mission is like Christ’s in its object, the showing forth of the holy love of heaven in earthly form.

Like Christ’s in its origin too. It was the Father’s love that chose Christ for this work, and counted Him worthy of such honour and trust. We also are chosen by Christ for this work. Every redeemed one knows that it was not he who sought the Lord, but the Lord who sought and chose him. In that seeking and drawing the Lord had expressely this heavenly mission in view. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” Believer! whoever thou art, and wherever thou dwellest, the Lord, who knows thee and thy surroundings, has need of thee, and has chosen thee to be His representative in the circle in which thou movest. Fix thy heart on this. He has fixed His heart on thee and saved thee, in order that thou shouldest bear and exhibit to those who surround thee the very image of His unseen glory. Oh, think of this origin of thy heavenly mission in His everlasting love, as His had its origin in the love of the Father. Thy mission is in very truth just like His.

Like it, too, in the fitting for it. Every ambassador expects to be supplied with all that he needs for his embassy. “He who hath sent me is with me. The Father hath not left me alone”; that word tells us how, when the Father sent the Son, He was always with Him, His strength and comfort. Even so the Church of Christ in her mission: “Go ye and teach all nations,” has the promise: “Lo, I am with you alway.” The Christian need never hold back because of unfitness. The Lord does not demand anything which He does not give the power to perform. Every believer may depend on it, that as the Father gave His Holy Spirit to the Son to fit Him for His work, so the Lord Jesus will give His people too all the preparation they need. The grace to show forth Christ evermore, to exhibit the lovely light of His example and likeness, and like Christ Himself to be a Fountain of love and life and blessing to all around, is given to every one who only heartily and believingly takes up his heavenly calling. In this too, that the sender cares for all that is needful for the sent ones, is our mission like His.

And like also in the consecration which it demands. The Lord Jesus gave Himself entirely and undividedly over to accomplish His work; He lived for it alone. “I must work the work of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.” The Father’s mission was the only reason of His being on earth; for that alone He would live; to reveal to mankind what a glorious blessed God the Father in heaven was.

As with Jesus, so with us. Christ’s mission is the only reason for our being on earth; were it not for that, He would take us away. Most believers do not believe this. To fulfil Christ’s mission is with them at best something to be done along with other things, for which it is difficult to find time and strength. And yet it is so certainly true: to accomplish Christ’s mission is the only reason of my being upon earth. Then first when I believe this, and like my Lord in His mission consecrate myself undividedly to it, shall I indeed live well-pleasing to Him. This heavenly mission is so great and glorious, that without an entire consecration to it we cannot accomplish it. Without this, the powers which fit us for it cannot take possession of us. Without this, we have no liberty to expect the Lord’s wonderful help and the fulfilment of all His blessed promises. Just as with Jesus, our heavenly mission demands nothing less than entire consecration. Am I prepared for this? Then I have indeed the key through which the holy hidden glories of this word of Jesus will be revealed to my experience: “As the Father sent me, even so send I you.”

O brothers! this heavenly mission is indeed worthy that we devote ourselves entirely to it as the only thing we live for.

O Lord Jesus! Thou didst descend from heaven to earth to show us what the life of heaven is. Thou couldst do this because thou wert of heaven. Thou didst bring with Thee the image and Spirit of the heavenly life to earth. Therefore didst Thou so gloriously exhibit what constitutes the very glory of heaven: the will and love of the unseen Father.

Lord! Thou art now the Invisible One in heaven, and sendest us to represent Thee in Thy heavenly glory as Saviour. Thou dost ask that we should so love men that from us they may form some idea of how Thou lovest them in heaven.

Blessed Lord! our heart cries out: How canst Thou send us with such a calling? How canst Thou expect it of us who have so little love? How can we, who are of the earth earthy, show what the life of heaven is?

Precious Saviour! our souls do bless Thee that we know that Thou dost not demand more than Thou givest. Thou who art Thyself the Life of heaven, Thou livest Thyself in Thy disciples. Blessed be Thy holy name, they have from Thee Thy Holy Spirit from heaven as their life-breath. He is the heavenly life of the soul: whoever surrenders himself to the leading of the Spirit can fulfil his mission. In the joy and power of the Holy Spirit we can be Thy image-bearers, can show to men in some measure what Thy likeness is.

Lord, teach me and all Thy people to understand that we are not of the world, as Thou wert not of the world, and therefore are sent of Thee, even as Thou wert sent of the Father, to prove in our life that we are of that world, full of love, and purity, and blessing, of which Thou wert. Amen.