THE TWO SENDERS
Notes on John 20.21 by Paul Watts
The risen Jesus said to His disciples, ‘…as my Father has sent me, even so send I you’.
The two Senders are two Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son. Reflecting the unity of the one Godhead they send in a similar way ‘as my Father has sent me, even so send I you’.
They both send into the same arena – the world. The Father has sent the Son into the world: the Son sends His disciples into the world.
In order to fulfil his mandate in the world each sent one needs a clear view of his Sender. Let us consider five features of the two Senders.
1. Their glory
Our Lord Jesus Christ always kept in view the glory of His Sender -‘He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him’ (John 7.18). His whole ambition in the world was that ‘the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14.13). At the end He could say: ‘I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do’ (John 17.4). The pattern repeats itself. The Sent One becomes the Sender. We too must seek only the glory of our Sender. To fulfil our mandate in the world we need a fresh view of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be ambitious to glorify Him.
2. Their love
What love exists between the persons of the Holy Trinity! The love of the Godhead is glorious, sufficient, complete. Yet it expresses itself outside itself. It is like a volcano: a molten mass in the middle, a lava flow on the outside. As the Father sends the Son into the world He loves Him passionately. He delights in Him. He loves Him intrinsically for who He is, but He loves Him especially in His willingness to undertake the great work of salvation: ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth…’ (Isaiah 42.1). It is a work done in perfect love and willingness: ‘Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God’ (Psalm 40.7,8).
But the chain of love does not stop. The Sent One becomes the Sender. In the act of sending His disciples into the world He loves them with equal passion and delight. ‘As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.’ (John 15. 9,10). The love of Christ constraining us is the secret of our mission in the world. In His high priestly prayer Jesus prayed for an effective united mission of His disciples in the world in these amazing words: ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be
made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.’ (John 17.23).
3. Their authority
Jesus came into the world, sent by the Father, with great authority. In a sense that authority was not His own but given Him by the Father (John 5. 26,27). The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. He was full;
equipped for His work. So too our authority as disciples to live and witness and preach is not our own. Our only authority is the authority of our Sender. We go in the name of Jesus. We do not speak our own words. He commissions us: ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore…’ (Matt. 28. 17,18). And we too, depending on our Sender, will lack nothing essential to our mission. We are fully equipped with the Spirit and the Word of God.
4. Their will
Jesus said simply: ‘For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me’ (John 6.38). That is the prototype and mindset of a person sent to do a work. We are deeply humbled as we think what suffering, heart-rending work our Saviour was so willing to undertake. Shame on us, then, if we are not willing to obey our Sender! The mindset of a Christian should simply be to do the will of the One who sends us into the world: to do it as He did His Father’s will – enthusiastically, lovingly, perseveringly, urgently, self in the back ground. Mary summed up the path of discipleship: ‘Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it’ (John 2.5).
5. Their purpose
Each Sender has a purpose in view. The Father sends the Son into the world to accomplish the work of salvation. He alone could do that work and He alone has done it. It is finished. Woe betide the person who tries
to add to it or detract from it! But there is still a work for disciples to do in the world, sent by Jesus. He sends us into the same arena He Himself entered. His purpose is to use us as instruments in gathering in the fruits
of His saving work, to reap what He has sown. And when our work on earth is done we are simply called to report back to our Sender. It is what Jesus did. He forewarned His disciples: ‘I go to the Father’ (John 16.16). Even so each disciple of Jesus will soon find himself in the very presence of the One who sent him. Will we hear Him saying; ‘Well done, good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord”. (Matt. 25.23).