A few weeks ago I was recounting my journey in ministry over the last two years. I mentioned that there have been a few verses from the Bible that God has used to define my journey. Daniel 7:13-14 is one.
The other is John 20:21. Jesus says to his disciples, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." This has been a watershed verse for me as I have meditated on it. Remember from Daniel 7 that Jesus was given all glory, authority, and sovereign power from the Father. Why? So he could fulfill the promise and reconcile lost men and women to the Father.
Jesus' followers would have heard Jesus refer to himself as the "Son of Man" on numerous occasions, and they would have known he was claiming to be the Son from Daniel &. When Jesus claimed the title of the Son of Man, he was saying that he had been given all glory, authority, and sovereign power.
Can you imagine their reaction when Jesus said, very clearly, that he was sending them as he himself was sent? Imagine the owner of the company you work for called you into his office and told you that at that time you had all his authority and power to run the company, as he himself had. How would you react? No matter what, I bet the size of the task would overwhelm!
As I thought about this, I realized that Jesus' words apply to us as well. The disciples commissioned their followers in the same way. There exists a chain of descent from Jesus, through his followers, all the way down through the ages of church leadership, to you and I!
In my journey, I needed to hear this and learn it. I often am tempted to serve out of my own gifts and wisdom. The bad thing is I can usually get pretty far that way. But then inevitably I end up fighting God when he and I come to odds on how, when, or why something should be done. For me to learn that I have been sent with purpose, and with power, this has allowed my to confidently submit to the leading of Jesus. If he has sent me, as he was sent, that means that I have all his power and all his authority at my disposal, and that I use them in the best way I can to bring him all the glory. Being sent that way demands humility so as not to misuse or misrepresent. It means that we can have total confidence. It also means that when we suffer, we know that Jesus too suffered, and that if we are to go as Jesus did, that we too must suffer and sacrifice.
That commission does not apply only to full-time ministers, by the way. As far as I can see, it applies to all of us who claim to follow Christ. Imagine what the world would look like if we all (myself included - I get it wrong more than anyone) lived as if we were sent to the world as Jesus was sent to the world, to serve, love and sacrifice, in order to glorify God and build his kingdom? I am shaken sometimes to think how lives would change!