So, Send I You
By Dr. Jack R. Hodges, Jr.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17, NASB)
That wonderful and powerful message is the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a story that is recounted not only during Christmas but throughout the year. The story of Christmas begins, out of necessity, with this proclamation of a God who loves us so much that He sent to us a Savior, One who would save us from our sins. Loving Father God sent us a redeemer and deliverer, One who came not to judge, but to set us free from the yoke, penalty, and burden of sin. God sent His Son! And although this seems to imply that God is far off, nothing could be further from the truth. Almighty, Sovereign, and Creator God is constantly present. He is, by His own nature, omnipresent and omnipotent; that is, He is able to be present at all times and places and He is able to know and perceive all things. Almighty God is also all-powerful. He is, after all, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He has, according to the compelling stories written throughout the Word of God, always been present and has always sent His love and care to mankind. God is not far off! He has always been present in the world that He created! Mankind’s problem is that we are separated from Him by our sins. The sending of a Savior reminds us that God broke through the lines of separation and offered sinful humanity salvation, reconciliation, hope, and love. He sought after broken mankind.
Why did God come seeking after us? Because we were lost in sin and without hope! Why did God desire to save or redeem us? Because God loves His crowning and most cherished creation—even when we became darkened by evil and separated from Him by sinful rebellion.
Remember what happened with Adam and Eve. They fell for Satan’s lies and were tricked into rejecting Sovereignty God’s presence and eternal love and care. The result was sin, separation, and spiritual death. However, in the right time, God’s time, our great, powerful, and loving God was willing to do what no one or nothing else could do—redeem and save His creation from eternal separation and sin. To accomplish that, God, the Father, SENT His presence in visible human form into this lost and dark world of humanity to seek and save us.
It is crucial to note that the very same Sovereign God who loves and provides salvation for his creation also judges them for their sin and rebellion. The Word of God warns (Romans 3:23), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 declares, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s creation, separated by their sin, needed a Savior—for they could not save themselves from the pronouncement of judgment stamped upon them by sin. And they could not, by any means or devices, span the spiritual distance created as a result of their rebellion. Only God could! And out of His love, He drew near! He broke through, bridging the gap, visiting the down and out, speaking out His love and care to all who were lost and separated from the Father by sin. He came and dwelt among His very own creation. And in order to accomplish this, God took on human flesh. His name, as prophesied by scripture, would be Jesus. The name Jesus means “One who saves.” He was called both “Son of man” (indicating the essence of His existence as fully man) and “Son of God” (indicating the essence of His existence as fully God). How could that be: fully God and fully man? The essence of the makeup and character of Jesus could only be accomplished by an eternal, powerful, sovereign, and loving Creator God.
The Gospels make it absolutely clear that Jesus, the Son of God came to redeem and to save. “…that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge (condemn) the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
The Gospels also make it abundantly clear that this same Jesus who was sent, also himself sends. That’s where you and I come in. We, who are redeemed and saved from the penalty of our sins; we who have been reconciled to Holy God by the blood of Jesus and have been claimed as spiritual sons and daughters of God; we who have been filled with His Holy Spirit and have been placed together in the Body of Christ—we too, like God’s Son, are sent to this dark and lost world with the wonderful message of a love so great that our God was willing to pay our price for sin.
God is still sending! When the resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples who were hunkered down and filled with fear, He spoke these words, “Peace be with you.” And then He said (John 20:21), “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” A disciple of Jesus Christ has a divine calling as a messenger of this gospel. You and I are sharers of the message of Jesus Christ. Our message to the world is God’s message. It is the message that God came into this world to redeem and to save! God drew near! That is the message of Christmas! God sent His Son (God in flesh) into this world to both: walk among us demonstrating the genuineness and power of God’s love, and to lay down His human life as a propitiation or sin offering. Only as Christ laid down His life as the perfect, sinless Lamb of God would the sufficient price be paid for all of the sins of all of humanity.
But there is a catch! Only those who see Him as God’s Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, will receive the gift of forgiveness and be reconciled to God. And those who do trust in Jesus are then sent out to share the wonderful news of a Savior. Just as Isaiah captured this truth, so must the spiritual children of God respond to His God’s question and command. “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? We answer the Savior and declare, “Here am I, send me!”
Dr. Jack Hodges is the Senior Pastor at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. He has served as a pastor, a biblical counselor, and an International Mission Board missionary.
Read more from Dr. Hodges here.