I was a freshman in college when I met Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, IL. Lutzer had shared in chapel that morning, and moving across the platform said, “And this is the exact spot I came to memorize the Gospel of John.” This gospel had captured Lutzer as a young man and had been the gospel that had saved him and launched him into ministry.
John is a beautiful Gospel. Augustine said that it was deep enough for an elephant to swim in yet shallow enough for a child to avoid drowning. There is a glorious simplicity about it – John explains hard concepts so that a spiritually curious person can read the book and get the big picture, yet goes to such depths that scholars can spend years mining the riches of this fourth gospel account.
For many people, this Gospel account is their introduction to the person and work of Jesus. “These things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn 20:31). John’s account of Jesus Christ is to provoke you to believe and live. For many people, reading John was their introduction to the Christian faith.
As I was reading the Fourth Gospel account, I saw our need to go through this book. But you might ask: if John’s goal is to believe and live, why study John as a church? Aren’t most people in our fellowship already believers who have eternal life?
What I saw in John was not just believing and living. I saw how John is a missionary gospel. The Father makes himself known by sending his Son to bring many sons and daughters to glory (Jn 1:1-18). This missionary God comes to work signs in order to bring life (Jn 1:19-12:50). This missionary God commissions and empowers his disciples by dying in their place so that they might be on mission (Jn 13:1-19:42). And in rising again, our missionary God sends us out in mission in the power of his Spirit (Jn 20:1-22:15).
Church, we are on mission! There is an unfinished task. There are people who are floundering, perishing, struggling, thirsting, and have not tasted the life of Christ that changes everything now and forever. Over these months, we want to help you overcome the barriers to the mission of Jesus. We want to help you pray for and share the gospel with five people in your life. We want to celebrate the stories of people sharing their faith and being faithful witnesses to Christ. And we pray that many would come to know and live the abundant life that Christ has for them and be added into his Kingdom as his children (Jn 10:10, 1:12-13)!
So won’t you join me in prayer this week? As Jesus said to his disciples, he says this to us: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (Jn 20:21). Let’s be ready to be sent by Jesus on the Father’s mission!
Eager to do God’s mission,
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.