Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Advent reminds us of one of the most unique and important aspects of God’s character. He is a missionary God.
When God created the universe, he sent out his Word into the void. When God rescued humanity, he sent his Son to earth. When the Father and Son empowered the church, they sent the Holy Spirit. And as the rescue mission continues, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send us, the body of Christ, to be his missionaries.
The Father sent the Son.
The Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send us.
All through the scriptures, God can be seen sending people on mission. He sends Abram out of Ur. He sends Moses to Pharaoh. He sends prophets to Israel. He sends Paul to the Gentiles. He sends us to the nations.
God is both a sending God (he sends others), and a sent God (he is, himself, sent). This is an essential part of his character. He crosses distances and overcomes barriers. He reaches out. He is a missionary God.
The Message paraphrases John’s Christmas account this way:
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
Just as God incarnated on his quest to reach us, we, the body of Christ, are meant to incarnate on our quest to reach our neighbors. We are sent by a sending God. We are missionaries of a missionary Messiah.