Friday, 29 April 2011

As the Father sent me so I send you!

When the Father sent the Son the Father remained with the Son. As the narrative in John’s gospel builds there is movement from the idea that Jesus is doing the Father’s work to the climax of their relationship described in John 10 “the Father is in me and I am in the Father”. The mystery of the inner relationship of God’s own life is that Son is accompanied by the Father and that the Son also remains with Father.

To quote Calvin, “Here is something marvellous: the Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, he willed to be borne in the virgin’s womb, to go about the earth, and hang upon the cross; yet he continuously filled the world even as he had done from the beginning!”

In John 17 Jesus prays those amazing words. “As you, Father, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

This then is the final and most wondrous aspect of the sending of the disciples and of us. We are sent in unity with Jesus and so with Father, just as the Father remained with Jesus in his life, so Jesus remains with us. And even more amazingly, as Paul wrote to the Colossians, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3). Not only is God with us but in Christ we are already with God in heaven!

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