A SENT GOD
Genesis 12: 1 – 3
1 John 4: 9 – 16
Mark 1: 1 – 15
Julius Caesar, commenting upon his conquest of Britain, reportedly said, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” It was his way of saying the conquest had been easy for him to carry out; which was patently untrue.
But one bit was true. He came; he had not been sent by anyone. He was trying to bolster his reputation at home in Rome where he had many enemies, and news of the conquest of Britain would have enhanced his reputation.
Caesar’s experience was very different form that of Jesus, who was sent!
Jesus was not trying to bolster his reputation in the least. In fact in Philippians Paul tells us he did not consider equality with God something he had to hang on to, but took on the form of a servant and humbled himself to the point of death on a cross.
Jesus was sent on a mission but it was not for his benefit. It was for ours.
I hope you all had an opportunity to read the JB Phillips story, A Visited Planet, in the email that went out with Day One on Thursday 28th February.
In it, two angels are looking at earth from some distance, and the junior angel is fascinated with the extent of God’s love in sending Jesus to visit us.
All sending, all mission, involves sacrifice. It involved sacrifice for John the Baptist and The Message version of the Bible translates his words in verses 7 and 8 as follows: “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptising you here in the river, turning your old life in for a Kingdom life. His baptism – a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit – will change you from the inside out.”
Nobody knew this more than Jesus. He came to earth voluntarily, but did he need a little shove from the rest of the godhead to actually get on with the job? Verse 12 is fascinating. 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. Drove him?? We all know the temptations in the desert were a preparation for ministry. Perhaps even Jesus needed a little nudge to get the job done!
In conclusion: nothing makes sense unless it has a context, and the sending of Jesus and our imitating him in mission has a distinct context, and that is love. Listen to 1 John 4 : 9 – 10, which were read to us earlier: 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
We will never fully understand the depth of God’s love for us. It more than saves us, it changes us too, into worthy citizens of the Kingdom of God. Into “Good News-bearers.”
Good News (Gospel) is both the good news that God has sent Jesus to save us, but also as we follow Jesus, to change us.
As we begin our Lenten Series, the theme of which is “A Sent People,” let us think of how following in King Jesus’ footsteps has resulted in good news for us.
At The Peace, I’m going to ask you to turn to your neighbour and say, “Peace be with you! Following King Jesus has resulted in …” You decide what words you want to follow that. “Peace be with you! Following King Jesus has resulted in …” Give that some thought.
You are loved and special because God has sent Jesus for you. I love that old saying, “If I were the only person on earth, Jesus would have come and died for me.”
God bless you. Amen.