She gave me the part of a bearded, boiler-hat-wearing preacher in the class history play; and,She was one of the first adults (other than my parents) to give me a big responsibility…
One day, she summoned me and another student.As she looked us in the eye, she said:
“I need you to go out to my car and bring in a box on my back seat. My car is a brown Cadillac. Be sure and lock the doors when you’re done.”She then placed her car keys in our hands—along with a little yellow piece of paper, on which she had written everything she had just told us, along with her license plate number.
I was more than happy to accept this responsibility. Any opportunity to go outside to do something other than clapping erasers was a real treat. And since I was an avid collector of Matchbox cars, I knew what a Cadillac looked like.But the best part of this was the trust she had in my classmate and me—and we realized this in our eight-year-old minds. It was an honor to be trusted. It was a privilege to be sent.
And I can’t help but remember her as I hear the words that Jesus prayed in our Gospel lesson for today.This is Jesus’ last night before his crucifixion—and the prayer that he prays on his final night is a prayer for us—because Jesus is sending us to carry on his work of revealing God to the world. Jesus sends us to love all people with the love that he has for us. He is passing the torch to us, to proclaim the Gospel of God’s forgiveness and the salvation of the world.
Jesus sends us to make the invisible God visible.And it’s a good thing that Jesus prays for us—because being sent for mission does not always conjure up the same kind of excitement that I had when my third grade teacher sent me on errands.
Jesus sends us to do things that are extremely challenging. We feel fear and worry—because we won’t always know where God is sending us—or what God is sending us to do.
God sends us where there’s pain. God sends us where there’s poverty. God sends us to the people our society would rather forget about. God sends us to where there’s doubt and unbelief. God even sends us to people who won’t love us in return—and who will take great delight in calling us “fools” for believing what we believe.The Gospel we are sent to proclaim will not always be welcome—and because of that, we will not always be welcome.
But we are sent… We’re sent because God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that all may believe in him and have eternal life. The story of God’s love is still being told—which means that we have work to do.And the good news for us is that Jesus prays for us.
Jesus prays for his Father to protect us from the evil one. He prays that we would not fall into despair at all the evil and suffering we see around us. He prays for us to have the courage to love God’s people even when they hate us.Jesus prays that we as Christians would be one, just as he and his Father are one. He prays for an end to the rivalries and quarrels and conflicts that weaken his church’s witness. He prays for us to arise and rock the world as one Body.
Jesus prays that we would be filled with joy as we take part in his work. He prays that our mission will be fruitful—so that we have cause for rejoicing as we witness God’s power at work.And he prays that we would be sanctified in the truth of God’s Word—that God’s Word would be written in our hearts. This way, we know whose we are—and we know our destiny, no matter what comes our way in life…
Jesus doesn’t need to send us out into the world to do anything—because he is God. He is perfectly capable of doing everything. But is for our blessing that we are sent—because how else can we see Jesus unless we’re part of the action of what he’s doing?And the prayers that Jesus offers for us lift us up to take part in his work. It’s Jesus who prays them—so these prayers will be answered. God will do for us everything that Jesus asked, so that we can go wherever Jesus sends us and bear fruit for his kingdom. It is a privilege to be sent—because this is our opportunity not just to please Jesus, but to see Jesus.
Jesus may send us, but he goes with us wherever he sends us. And because of this, we will be able to accomplish more than we could ever ask or imagine on our own—so that hearts would be touched and lives transformed by the love of Christ.So are you ready for Jesus’ prayers to be answered? Are you ready for God to fill you with courage and with hope—so that you may go and see the salvation that Jesus brings to the world?
Are you ready to be sent?