20:21 and the Mission of Christmas
Every year comes with moments to remember as well as moments you would much rather forget, and 2021 is no different. However, there is a 20:21 that is always worth remembering, especially as we head toward Christmas and the celebration of our Savior’s first advent.
In John 20:21, Jesus states, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Not really a verse you’ll find on too many Christmas cards, but a deeper look shows that it ties a perfect bow (pun intended) around the heart, and more importantly, the ongoing mission of Christmas.
The Completed Christmas Mission
In John 20:19, the disciples, full of fear and doubt, are huddled in a locked room and uncertain of what is to be their fate. Suddenly, they are standing in awe as a full-of-life, resurrected Jesus shows them His pierced hands and side so that they may verify their Savior is alive. And then He speaks.
“Peace to you.” Jesus tells them this phrase of greeting and comfort twice. Finally, they can be at peace. But Jesus isn’t done yet.
“As the Father has sent Me…”
In these six simple words, Jesus points all the way back to the Manger, where He began His mission.
And now, standing before His disciples and after His resurrection, these words convey so much! He was born among us as a perfect man to live a perfect life, to be the example of sinlessness, to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and to defeat death itself. So here, when He says, “the Father has sent Me,” He speaks from the finish line. The mission is completed – and it was completed perfectly. But again, Jesus isn’t done. He has one more important statement to make.
The Ongoing Christmas Mission
“… I also send you.”
Imagine someone saying, “mission complete! Now, let’s get started.” It seems counterintuitive, but it is absolutely not – and it is exactly what Jesus is saying here to the disciples and to us. The mission of Jesus – the mission for which He was sent by the Father – was completed! He had paid for the sins of the world and had proven He was the way, the truth, and the life. Now, He says, it’s time for His disciples to get started.
This is the ongoing mission of Christmas. It was for the disciples, it was for all the believers that would come after them. It is for you, and it is for me.
Now, look again at that verse in full: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent Me, I also send you.”
Just as Jesus was sent by the Father, He also sends you and me. Unlike Jesus, we are not the perfect, sinless, only begotten Son of God. But just like Jesus, we are sent by One who has full authority. We are sent on His behalf to proclaim to the world the mission He completed from the cradle to the cross to the crown more than 2,000 years ago.
Christmas 2021 is so much more than a winding down of the year and the celebration of the first advent. It’s an opportunity to be mindful of the mission from the One who sent us! What a blessing it is to do more than marvel at manger scenes around our neighborhoods. We get the incredible privilege of looking upon that Child in the manger and reminding ourselves: He is my Savior. He is God over all. He has called me to be on mission for Him; to be a part of the ongoing mission of Christmas!
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