“I recently asked this question on Twitter: ‘What are the key passages or texts that speak of God’s people being on mission?'”
I recently asked this question on Twitter: “What are the key passages or texts that speak of God’s people being on mission? I’ll publish the top 10 on my blog.”
This generated a good response, and many people offered up passages of Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments.
Here is a top 10 of the passages cited. Some are more explicitly about God’s mission, others less so, but the mission of God and our calling to join him is clear. I will be using these in my forthcoming study Bible article on John 20:21.
I believe that John 20:21 ties our mission into Jesus’ mission. In other words, we join him in his mission. There are many verses that relate to that (and I often use Luke 4 and Luke 19:10 as good summary statements), but I was looking for verses that were more clearly connected to the call of God on his people.
Here is the list of 10 verses, in canonical order, that indicate God’s people are sent on mission:
1. Genesis 12:1-3
The Lord said to Abram: “Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
2. Exodus 19:5-6
Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.
3. Isaiah 6:8
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Who should I send? Who will go for Us?” I said: “Here I am. Send me.”
4. Matthew 24:14
“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.”
5. Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
6. Mark 16:15
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”
7. Luke 24:46-48
“This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
8. John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
9. Acts 1:8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
10. 1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
What is missing? What verses more clearly represent the fact that God’s people are sent for Hhs mission? As I mentioned, I do not include the verses that point to how/why Jesus was sent (though that is valid and we join him in his mission).
Once my little list is done, I will include them as a footnote in the HCSB Study Bible, next to my article on John 20:21.
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham distinguished chair of church, mission and evangelism at Wheaton College and the Wheaton Grad School, where he also oversees the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.