The Commissioning Christ

by David & Stephen Olford

David and Stephen OlfordText: "as the Father has sent meI also send you" (John 20:21 nkjv)

Thought: These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus as He appeared to His disciples on that first resurrection evening. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke emphasize the commission of Christ, it is John who draws our attention to the Christ of the commission. Notice, in the first place:

1. The personal Identity of the Commissioning Christ: "ThenJesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace be with you. When he had said this, he showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord" (vv. 19-20). By such an appearance the Lord Jesus was making Himself known to His disciples as the Christ of Calvary. Before He could send them forth to preach the message of the cross, they had to be identified with the Christ of the cross and had to know victory in their lives. They needed cleansing from their guilt and needed to have fear and doubts removed from their hearts and minds. Only then could they begin to engage in the task of evangelism.

2. The Powerful Authority of the Commissioning Christ: "So Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me I also send you'" (v. 21). As One under authority, the Son of God had come from His Father's side to fulfill His commission, and now, as the risen Christ, invested with all authority in heaven and earth, He was sending forth His disciples as men under authority. Before Jesus could be the first missionary, the Father had to send Him into the world to be involved in a birth, a life, and a death. Before we earn the right to speak to men and women of the reconciling gospel, we must know both identification and involvement with the people we are out to win. The church is under orders to "go, preach, and make disciples" and she cannot afford to disobey the commissioning word of the risen Lord.

3. The Plentiful Sufficiency of the Commissioning Christ: "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained'" (vv. 21-23). Our Lord does not thrust us forth into service without adequate equipment. In the plentiful sufficiency of our commissioning Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit to enable us to know the power for holy living and witness, and we have been entrusted with the glorious message of forgiveness for all on the grounds of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. What a task is ours to make the gospel known to every creature within our generation. God gives us the grace to say "Lord, here am I, send me."

Thrust: "God's commands are His enabling."

David Olford teaches expository preaching at Union University's
Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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