Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to represent him, to reveal to everyone on planet Earth the character of the Father. This was necessary because the world was engulfed in the wrong picture of God, but to present the correct picture of God, it required someone who was identical in nature with the Father to show what God was really like. Jesus was that person whom God would send to make himself known.
After Jesus had completed his mission of representing his Father and making him known, and after his death, burial, and resurrection as well, Jesus appeared to the disciples one evening. It was at this encounter that Jesus made a simple statement about being a representative of himself and his Father. How were the disciples to tell others about God? What would they tell them? What would be their message? In one simple statement Jesus said: "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). A revelation of this magnitude surely had an immense impact on amateurs whose understanding of God and what God was all about was somewhat dubious because they were still infants in their knowledge of God. And to realize that their particular representation of God would be in accordance with that of Jesus, their future journey may prove to be quite challenging to say the least. Did the disciples realize they could very well suffer similar abuse and rejection as did Jesus? Did they understand when Jesus told them: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" (Matt. 10:16), that death could be eminent and very realistic?
For the person who desires to become a messenger for God and to represent him, it would behoove that person to be doubly sure that it is God who is doing the sending. A great many well-meaning people claim to be sent by God, that they have received special instructions as to the place where they are to go as well as to the message they are to proclaim. It would behoove the listener of those messengers to attune his intellect and his eardrums, and listen intently to what is being communicated.
The entire chapter of Matthew 10 is thorough and detailed about Jesus sending out his disciples. The disciples were told where to go and where not to go, what message to preach, what type of luggage to take, what to do in a crisis. Jesus also warned them about the value of family relationships, and that they should not be afraid of any incidents that might happen, because "you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:31).
Jesus provided the all-important message to us about his Father, and for those who are sent by this same Jesus, that same message should be proclaimed to everyone: Make the Father known by revealing his character (John 17:26). The Holy Spirit is an asset that every representative of God will need to acknowledge and to allow him to participate in that person's life. As Jesus told the disciples, "All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:25, 26). That is a most encouraging promise! It would be beneficial and to everyone's advantage to read several times the words of Jesus in Matthew, chapter 10.
According to the gospel writer John, there are many important verses pertaining to Jesus being sent by his Father. Listed below are some of those verses:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16, 17
"The One who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The One who comes from Heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands." John 3:31-35
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest?' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." John 4:34, 35
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from Heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:37-40
"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:43, 44
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me." John 6:54-57
Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God, or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his won does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him."John 7:16-18
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me." John 7:28, 29
"You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."John 8:15-18
"Who are you?" they asked. "Just what I have been claiming all along;" Jesus replied. "I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable and what I have heard from him I tell the world." They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The One who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."John 8:25-29
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say."John 8:42, 43
Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the One who sent me. I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak on my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me (instructed me) what to say and how to say it. I know that his command (his instruction) leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." John 12:44-50
"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."John 13:14-17
Jesus replied. "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:23, 24
"Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me."John 15:20, 21
After Jesus said this, he looked toward Heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on Earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."John 17:1-5
"My prayer is not that you take them (the disciples) out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."John 17:15-19
"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me come from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me."John 17:6-8
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be sanctified."John 17:16-19
"My prayer is not for them (the disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."John 17: 20-24
"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."John 17:25, 26
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came (was sent) into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."John 18:37
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."John 20:19-21
At the beginning of Jesus' ministry during his opening statement about God to Nicodemus, the verses of John 3:16, 17, & 18 mention nothing about Jesus' death on the Cross as criteria for eternal life. Rather, it is "whoever believes" (whoever trusts, whoever has faith in Jesus) "shall not perish" and "is not condemned." It is those people who will "have eternal life." But the question is: What does it mean to "believe in Jesus?" The answer is: To accept as truth what Jesus reveals about his Father. Near the end of his life Jesus explained what he had been all about: He was sent "to testify to the truth" about his Father. Jesus stated: "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37). Jesus did the demonstration of God's character and made him known. Representatives of God need only report to others what Jesus said and did.
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