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SENT: The Apostle of our Confession

28 Jul

Volume 11, No. 7 (July 2016)

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Trick question: Who was the first Apostle in the New Testament?

Answer: The Lord Jesus.

The writer of Hebrews in 3:1 calls Him “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” With these two terms He summarizes the two-way mediation of Christ that He has dealt with in chapter 1 and 2: the Son’s revelatory ministry seen in chapter 1 (mediating between God and man); and the Son’s priestly ministry seen in chapter 2 (mediating between man and God).

It is this dual dynamic that is crystallized so beautifully and powerfully in 2:12, where Jesus says to the Father:

“I will proclaim Your Name to by brethren,  [God->man]
And in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”  [man->God]

(On this subject, see my book Proclamation and Praise: Hebrews 2:12 and the Christology of Worship [Wipf & Stock, 2007]; Worship Notes 1.8; and the articles on this webpage.)

Jesus, in His incarnation both divine and human, is of course uniquely qualified to play this dual role and to be the bridge, ladder, connection (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51) between heaven and earth.

In His role as Apostle (Greek apostolos), Jesus was sent (Greek apostello) as God’s emissary to reveal His nature (Matthew 11:27; John 1:14; 14:9) and to deliver His message.

The Gospel of John is especially rich in quotations of Jesus speaking of the Father who “sent Me.” That phrase is found on the lips of Jesus 34 times in John, as opposed to only once in Matthew, once in Mark, and three times in Luke. Obviously the role of Jesus as God’s sent messenger is a central theme in the fourth gospel. Here Jesus describes Himself as having been “sent” by the Father:

to baptize

 John 1:33 “He who sent Me to baptize with water…”


t
o do the Father’s will

 John 4:34  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

 John 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”

 John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

 John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent Me.”


t
o do the Father’s work

 John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

 John 5:36 “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about Me that the Father has sent Me.”

 John 9:4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”

John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me has himself given Me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

 

to bring the Father’s message

        John 7:16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not Mine, but his who sent Me.”

John 7:28 So Jesus proclaimed, as He taught in the temple, “You know Me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of My own accord. He who sent Me is true, and Him you do not know.”

John 8:26 “I have much to say about you and much to judge, but He who sent Me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from Him.”

John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me has himself given Me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

John 14:24 “Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me”.


to reach people for the Father

 John 6:39 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day.”

 John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise Him up on the last day.”

 John 6:57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, He also will live because of Me.”

John 13:20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the one who sent Me.”


to lead people to faith

 John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

 John 11:42  “I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

 John 12:44   And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.

 John 17:9  “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”

 John 17:21 “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.


to pronounce judgment on those who refuse the message

 John 8:16 “Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent Me.”

 John 15:21 “But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

And in a direct line of descent, we as Christ’s brethren (Hebrews 2:11) and chosen co-laborers are the heirs of that commission to represent God in the world.

John 17:18 “As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

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Posted by on July 28, 2016 in Christ and Worship

 

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