So Send I You!
(John 20:21)

The Great Commission According to John


"Just as the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you" (John 20:21).

"Just as You sent Me into the world, even so I sent them into the world (John 17:18).

The Father sent the Son, and in the same way the Son sent His disciples. If we are to understand what it means to be sent by Christ, we must understand what it meant for Christ to have been sent by the Father:

How was our Lord sent? What was His relationship to His Sender? The Gospel of John clearly delineates the meaning of this relationship. In your own time of personal study you may want to look up the verses listed below and read them prayerfully and carefully.

The following passages are found in the Gospel of John and speak of Christ being sent by His Father:

  1. Christ was sent, not to do His own will, but the will of His Sender (4:34; 5:30; 6:38). This is what our Lord hungered for more than anything else: not to do what He wanted, but to do what the Father wanted; not what He desired, but only what the Father desired. Even so, we ought to be able to say, "My food is to do the will of Christ my Sender—to do only what Christ wants and desires. Not my will, but Christ's will be done!"

  2. Christ was sent, not to please Himself, but to please His Sender (8:29). Even so, may we be able to say, "For I do always those things that please Christ" (2 Cor. 5:9-11; Eph. 5:10; 1 Cor. 7:32; Phil. 3:7-8). Paul's only concern was to please Christ (Gal. 1:10). His only fear was the fear of not pleasing the Lord. One of the problems in the area of missions is that our vision tends to become far too horizontal rather than vertical—man oriented rather than God oriented. As we become more and more concerned about reaching men it is possible to become less concerned about pleasing God. As a result we might even begin to try to reach men in ways that do not please God. May we never forget that our primary mission is to please the God who sent us and to one day hear His "WELL DONE!"

  3. Christ was not sent to seek His own glory, but to seek the glory of His Sender (7:18). Christ did not want recognition, praise or attention to come to Himself. He wanted the Father to receive the attention. He was God the Father's witness—pointing clearly and consistently to the One who had sent Him. Even so, we should not want recognition and praise to be heaped upon ourselves. We want our lives to draw attention, not to the ugliness of self, but to the beauty of our Lord Jesus who has sent us. We are His witnesses! May our lives point only to Him (Acts 1:8; Isaiah 43:10; John 3:30).

  4. Christ was sent into the world to represent His invisible Sender (5:37; cf. 1:18). Men could not see the Father, but they could see Christ. Christ represented the invisible God. Even so, we have been sent into the world to represent the invisible Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). The world cannot see the head (John 16:10--"ye see me no more") but they can see the Body, which is His church. No man has seen Christ at any time (at least not since He has gone back to heaven), but the church is here to declare Him and make Him known (1 Timothy 3:15-16).

  5. Christ was sent into the world so that men, in seeing Him, would see His Sender (12:44-45). Compare John 14:9 ("as you see Me, you are really seeing the Father who sent Me"). Even so, as men and women look at our lives they should see our Sender, even our Lord Jesus (Gal. 2:20; 4:19; 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 13:4-7). May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win, and may they forget the channel, seeing only Him! (Kate Wilkinson) May we reflect the image and likeness of the One who has sent us into the world (compare 2 Cor. 3:18).

  6. Christ was sent into the world by His living Father and He lived by (through) His Sender (6:57). Even so, the living Christ has sent us and we live by Him. Christ is our life (Col. 3:34; Phil. 1:21). Our life is centered in Him (Gal. 2:20) even as His life was centered in the Father. Remember, our primary function as a witness is to make known and manifest the life of Christ (see 2 Cor. 4:10-11).

  7. Christ was sent into the world, not with His own words and doctrine, but with the words and doctrine of His Sender (3:34; 7:16; 12:49-50). The Lord Jesus was unoriginal in His teaching and in His doctrine. Everything He taught came from the Father! Even so, Christ has sent us into the world, not with our own message but with the gospel of Christ, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:20). A herald's task is not to be original but to simply announce the message of the king. We are to be HERALDS of the King of Kings bearing His message (Mark 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:1-2). The message comes from God. God said it, we just deliver it.

  8. Christ could do nothing apart from His Sender (5:30). He was totally dependent upon His Heavenly Father. Even so, we are totally dependent upon our Sender and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). The One who sent us is the One who must enable us every step of the way!

  9. Christ was not alone, His Sender was with Him (8:16,29). Even so, we have the promise of the One who has sent us: "Lo I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20); and compare Mark 16:20 and Hebrews 13:5. The One who sent us is also with us.

  10. Christ was busy in doing the work of His Sender (4:34; 9:4) and when His work was done, He went home to be with His Sender (7:33; 16:5). Even so, we are to be always abounding in the work of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 15:58), and when our work is finished we will go home to be with our Sender (John 14:3; 17:24; Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). To depart and be with Christ is far better (Phil. 1:21,23; 2 Cor. 5:8).

As we consider this commission we can only say one thing: "Lord, who is sufficient for these things? How can we do it? I delight in this commission but how to perform that which is good I find not."

How can it be done? As we study the Gospel of John we make an amazing discovery. Not only has Christ sent us, but He has also sent Someone else: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (John 16:7). Apart from the Holy Spirit of God we could never fulfill our commission. Only from Him can we receive the POWER to rightly represent Christ (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:89). Today every believer has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; John 7:38-39) in whose fullness we go forth to fulfill our Lord's words: "As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you" (John 20:21).

The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907

More articles under Missions and Evangelism

Home Page