Mission (Gk. apostoleo, Lat. missio) is embedded, assumed, inhered in the nature of the Son. The spoken Word was sent to accomplish the Father’s will, and it didn’t return to him without doing everything he sent it to do (Isa 55.11). To be the Son, the enfleshed Word, then, is to be sent and to do his Father’s will. And, indeed, like the spoken Word, the enfleshed Word didn’t return to the Father empty-handed: “I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do.” (Joh 17.4) To be children of God, then, constitutes a missional identity as well. As the ancient creed goes, we believe in the apostolic church: the church which is sent (apostoleo) into the world.
1. Note the really close similarity between Isa 55.11 and Joh 17.4.
2. Notice how Jesus understood himself as ‘the one you sent.’ (17.3)
3. In fact, on v.13 Jesus said that he is on his way back to the Father, “I am on my way to you”, yet echoing another part of Isa 55.11: “they don’t return to me without..” and therefore establishing the link between Isa 55.11 and the prayer (and self-understanding) of Jesus (and the church) in Joh 17.
4. The mission of the Son is paradigmatic for the church: “I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me.” (17.18) The mission of the Son became the paradigm of the mission of the church.