I see a Church …
During this season of lockdown we have more time to re-evaluate our faith and our practices as a follower of Jesus.
Over the next few days I want to pause and think a little more of this prayer of Jesus, hours from his sacrifice. I think I can see 5 desires of Jesus in his prayer that are for us today. Let us look at one each day.
John 17 v 6-26
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world” v6.
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” v26.
Jesus prayed it because he wanted it. He still does.
I see a Church … That knows the Father.
The ministry of Jesus was to reveal the Father. As people looked at the lifestyle of Jesus, saw his personality and character, they saw the beauty of the Father. Do people see the Father in us? Christ’s passion hasn’t changed now that he is in heaven. It is still his desire for our lives that we know the Father. What kind of Father do people experience from the Church? From you and me?
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church and said, “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel” 1 Cor 4 v15.
When the Father is known and when people see the Father in the Church they are soon made aware that He is a sending Father. John has made it clear throughout the gospel and as we will see when we get to the verse in John 20:21 “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
There are two different uses of the word send in verse 21. The first one is in the past tense, meaning, “I have been sent once and for all.” This action has been taken once and is not repeated. Jesus has come once and for all. The second sending is in the present active indicative, meaning a continued action—“I am sending you, and I will keep on sending you until the work is completed.”
He continues to send today. The sending responsibility of the church is not optional or expendable. It is to continue until Christ comes.
Every book in the New Testament was written by a sent missionary. Every letter in the New Testament that was written to an individual was written to a convert of a sent missionary. Every letter in the New Testament that was written to a church was written to a sending missionary church. The one book of prophecy in the New Testament (Revelation) was written to seven sending missionary churches of Asia. The only authoritative history of the early Christian church is a sending missionary book (Acts). The disciples were called Christians first in a sending missionary community (Antioch). The map of the early Christian world is the tracing of the journeys of the first sent missionaries. Of the 12 apostles chosen by Jesus, every apostle, except one, became a sent missionary. The other became a traitor.
The aim of a mission sending father and a mission sent son is to make known the father. It is to make known the ways of the Father. A way is not just a thought, or a perceived attitude about something, it is how one lives their life. It is the customs, institutions and achievements of a particular nation, people or group, it is called culture. I see a Church that understands the culture of the Father that absorbs His character ours.
If the Church wants to know the Father and be known as the Father’s house, then it needs to send again. There are trapped sons today. The fathers will not send, they keep, they want to build empires, to preserve their name. Sons want to honour but they want to go.
John would later write in 1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
May the world see a Church that knows the Father!