Who is the greatest missionary of all time? Is it one of the apostles? Peter? Paul? John? How about 0ne of the great missionaries from the explosion of evangelical world missions of the 18th and 19th centuries? Hudson Taylor? William Carey? Robert Moffat? David Livingston? Lottie Moon? How about some of the great missionaries from the 20th century? Jim Elliot? Adoniram and Ann Judson? C.T. Studd? These are all wonderful missionaries who gave their lives to bring the Gospel to unsaved people around the world. However, none of them are the greatest Missionary of all time. That accolade belongs to Jesus Christ! The Son of God is the Greatest Missionary of all time. A missionary is “one who is sent on a mission.” What was Jesus’ mission and who sent Him? Look at how Jesus answered that question:
“My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34
Think about that for a minute. Jesus said that doing God’s will was “food” to Him. That’s the same thing He told Satan – “And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” (Luke 4:3-4) Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and told Satan that people needed God’s Word to live. How true! Jesus told His disciples that His “food” is to do the will of God Who sent Him.
He also told them that His “food” was to finish the Work God had sent Him to do. What was that Work? He answered it on the Cross: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30) God sent His Son to die for sin and that’s what Jesus did.
Here are some other verses that give us important insights into Christ’s Mission. Notice where He came from and to whom He was sent.
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38
“He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Matthew 15:24
Jesus is the Messiah of Israel! He is the Promised One, the Anointed One of God the Father. God sent His Son to save Israel from their sins and that’s what Jesus did. He came down from Heaven not to do His Will, but to do the Will of His Father Who sent Him.
This next group of verses is very important. Jesus made it clear that God would receive anyone who received His Son, but would reject anyone who rejected His Son. This is still true today.
“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:40
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:37
“He then began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. ‘He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this scripture: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:1-11
“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16
“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. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:31-36
“I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” John 13:20
Jesus came for a specific purpose. That purpose was to preach the Gospel, the Good News to all who would hear and obey.
“The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:17-19
“But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43
“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” John 7:16
Jesus came with Good News for those who will hear and obey. They will receive the gift of eternal life. But what about those who do not obey? The same Jesus Who came to seek and save the lost will one day judge the world. The Son and the Father are in One Accord.
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 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 5:22-24
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30
“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 … 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.” John 8:15-16, 26
So, it does come down to one thing: faith. We must believe that God sent His Son and that in Christ we have our redemption. When we believe in Christ, we believe in God.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.” John 5:36-38
“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:29
“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 6:57
“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.” John 12:44-45
“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 14:24
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3
“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 17:8
Does Jesus really have the power to keep His promises? Can He save us from our sins? Can He raise us from the dead? Yes! That is why God sent Him, to save us from the horror of sin and raise us up from the grave in the last day.
“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!” John 11:41-43
“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 at the last day.” John 6:39
“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 6:44
So, what do we learn from the Greatest Missionary of all time? We learn there is a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to do it.
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4
We know there is an end to God’s offer of salvation to the world. We don’t when that time will come, but we are told in the Scriptures that it will come. So, what is it that God wants us to do now? Work. We must do God’s Work as long as it is day, as long as He is making that offer to the world. When night comes, when His offer ends, our work here will be done.
Right now, in Heaven, Jesus is interceding for you, by name; praying for you, by name. He Loves you with an Everlasting Love. He knows everything you face. He knows your heart’s desire. He knows your joy and your sorrow. He cares deeply about you. He is always with you. Just hours before Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, He prayed this Prayer to His Heavenly Father. I pray this will be a blessing to you and give you strength on your mission for God this week.
“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. ‘Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” John 17:20-25
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”