We had a prayer meeting at church last night for students thinking about world mission. Listening to some of the students talk about their heart for the lost and seeing their passion to see God save people was so encouraging. Sometimes I find it easy to get blinkered and forget about those outside the church. But thank God that He doesn’t.
We have a missionary God! I pray He’d help me to remember that – I so easily forget. It’s fundamental to His character. The Triune God didn’t stay in His heaven, where everything is glorious, where there is no crying or pain or death or sickness or evil, where He has enjoyed perfect communion within Himself between the Persons of the Trinity – Father Son and Holy Spirit – for all eternity.
Instead He came.
The second Person of the Trinity, the Son, became Jesus the Sent One – the missionary. He came Himself, this majestic God. He took our flesh, growing in a human womb. He was born into a world of dirt and disease and suffering – physical dirt and disease and suffering, yes. But more than that: emotional and spiritual dirt and disease and suffering. And in doing so He didn’t just pay us a fleeting visit before a cosmic decontamination shower and re-entry into glory. He bound Himself – His glorious self – to our nature irrevocably. And He lived its life and He died its death. In fact, He died the meanest – and most unearned – of human deaths, as a condemned criminal: tortured, abused, mocked, spat upon, humiliated. And bearing the weight of the entire world’s sin; facing the full gale-force of God’s wrath against sin. And the scars of that death are still visible now, where He is, seated at the right-hand of the Father… He may have returned to glory, but the suffering He went through was real, and the very Godhead will bear the marks for all eternity. That’s a staggering thought.
And why? He did it all for the lost. And that’s us, as well as all those who haven’t yet come to trust Him. We were all lost once. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Once we had not received mercy, once we were in darkness. Now praise be to our missionary God who has ‘called us out of darkness into His wonderful light’; who has made us who were rebels into a people for His very own!
May He give us a heart for those who are still in the darkness, who have yet to hear about the God who stooped unimaginably low to become such a missionary to them. A God who did it all to buy them back from their self-wrought death, and to win their hearts with His most-gracious love.