THE SENDING is the name of my most recent studio recording project. It s a collection of 12 worship songs that reflect a journey I’ve been on – with my local church – as we’ve sought to discover what it means to live as the “sent” people of God.
The concept of “The Sending” is ultimately about God’s divine strategy to save and restore the world. As Christians, we believe that the God of the Bible is the God who saves. And God’s modus operandi for saving always includes sending. He has been weaving this story of sending and saving right throughout history. Ever since the sinfulness of mankind established a rift between God and people, God has been at work to restore humanity – and all of Creation – and He has repeatedly and consistently demonstrating His love and saving grace through sending.
Throughout the Old Testament we see many examples of leaders and prophets who were sent to lead and guide God’s people. For example, Moses was sent to free the Hebrew people from Egyptian enslavement. On their eventual release from captivity, God sent His people to the promised land. From one generation to the next – through cycles of rebellion and repentance – God sent prophets, judges, leaders and kings to guide, heal, rebuke and save His people.
But human leaders were never enough to truly save God’s people. Fast-forward to the New Testament and we see the climax of God’s saving work in the sending of His only Son, Jesus. At just the right time in history, God sent Jesus so that all the world might be restored into right relationship with Him. Through his perfect life and undeserved death, He took the punishment for all of the earth’s sin and rebellion. He was sent to save the world, to make a way for us to experience relationship with God, and to demonstrate the coming of God’s kingdom on earth “as it is in heaven.”
Jesus is the main character in the Salvation Story and we are members of the cast in the unfolding of this great drama. Jesus taught His disciples that the model and methods of His life were to be replicated and reproduced in their lives. After he rose from the dead, and before he ascended to heaven, Jesus appeared before his disciples and declared, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21).
As those who have responded to and received what Jesus has done on the cross, we are also sent into the world as bearers of this Good News. Through our words and actions, we declare what Jesus has done, what He is doing right now in our lives and in our world, and what He will do when the time comes for His return.
Thankfully, we are not left to rely on our own strength to love others and participate the unveiling of God’s kingdom upon the earth. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would fill and empower His believers to speak the Good News boldly. The Spirit continues His work today, teaching us how to live and reminding us of the things that Jesus Himself taught (John 14:26). In spite of our weaknesses, our faults and our brokenness, the Holy Spirit gives us power (Acts 1:8) to live and love like Jesus did.
It is fundamental to our identity as followers of Jesus that we understand that we are a sent kind of people. We are not a static, wait-around-for-heaven kind of people. We are a people who are called to “go” – just as Jesus was – to embody and represent the kingdom of God wherever He takes us and wherever He places us. Just as Jesus was sent, so He is sending us! What a great adventure we get to participate in together as we anticipate and prepare for Jesus’ return.