21 November 2005

Jesus, love, and mission in the Gospel of John

Here's something I learned at my Discipleship Group gathering this evening: The footnote to John 6:57 in my HarperCollins Study Bible sends you on a cool trip through the Gospel of John and several increasingly missional statements of Jesus. Here they are:

John 6:57: "Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me."

John 15:9: "As my Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love."

John 17:18: "As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."

John 20:21: Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

I encourage you to read them in context. You can do that by clicking on the hyperlinks if you want.

Can any sane person read the Gospels and doubt that Jesus saw himself fundamentally as someone sent on a mission by his loving Father? And can there be any doubt that he saw himself as, in that same love, sending his disciples into the world on their own missions of love? And that those missions, in the same spirit of reciprocity, are to pass on that love and to, in turn, equip other disciples for their missions?

Mission is not a program at your church, one among many. Mission (which includes both disciple-making, aka evangelism, and active love, aka healing, hospitality, justice, etc.) is why your church--any church--the Church--exists. It's unavoidable. If you're a Christian, do you see yourself, as Jesus did, fundamentally as a person on a mission of love in the world? If not, what is fundamental in your Christian identity?

2 comments:

Rick Lord+ said...

Mike,

Great post. Your discipleship group is such a gift for strengthening our fundamental identity as those loved and sent by the God of all life. I'm convinced that until an individual Christian begins a dialogue with Christ through Scripture in community with others, that Christian is living with amnesia. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" said Paul in Col. 3:16. If one dares to allow the words of Christ to take root in their heart and mind, and even more, if a group of disciples share this practice, compassion is sure to follow. I'm wondering if Colossians might be the next discipleship study at HC. I''m in.

Rick+

P3T3RK3Y5 said...

mike -- really enjoyed this episode.

i loved the scripture passages and your perspective re: discipleship with respect to both Christ and us wanna be little christs.

from there (i submit) we took a rather broad leap and extrapolated church responsibility. i don't know that this, or any other church program, is required or specifically supported by scripture.

to be clear, i am *not* suggesting the church is to be "not missional". however, i am questioning how we assign *requirements* to the church.

thoughts?
pete