Fishers of Men Are Sent
A commission is an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or a group of people. For example, my brother, who is a sculptor, is commissioned to create a work of art made from a tree trunk using only chainsaws as his carving implements. When a customer commissions him to execute a sculpture, my brother takes it as an instruction, a command and his duty to carry out the desires of the customer.
Likewise, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He met with His disciples and commissioned them into His service. In each of the four gospels and in Acts the commission of Jesus is recorded (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-47, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8) with each occurrence giving us a different perspective. In the Gospel of John (John 20:21) Jesus said, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." This passage emphasizes the sending nature of the commission from Jesus as exemplified by the way God sent Jesus. Looking at how Jesus was sent will give us insight as what this commission entails.
First, God sent Jesus into the world to a specific people, the Jews, and He lived among them. This was done so that all could see His glory full of grace and truth. Likewise, Jesus has sent us to a specific people that we live among. God has placed us in families, neighborhoods, apartments, workplaces, counties, states, and nations that we might show forth the Glory of God and His grace and truth.
Secondly, God sent Jesus with a specific message for the people he would encounter. Jesus said that His teaching was not His own, but it comes from the One who sent Him. In John 20:30-31 John says that the book he wrote is “so that you may believe in Jesus Christ the son of God and that believing you may have life in His name.” Likewise, the message we bring to the people where we are placed is not our own message, but is the message that Jesus has entrusted to us. Can we express a message that would lead people to life thorough faith in Christ?
Lastly, God sent Jesus with works to accomplish. In John 6:38 Jesus tells us that He has come to do the will of God who sent Him. Look at the works God gave Him to accomplish: He gave life to the woman at the well; He healed the man born blind; He fed the multitudes, and He raised Lazarus from the dead. These and many more are the works He did. Likewise, Jesus has given us works to accomplish.
So as Jesus’ disciples we are all sent to a specific people whom we live among, we have a message of reconciliation that is entrusted to us and must be shared with those among whom we live; and Jesus has given us good works to accomplish among the people to whom we have been sent. This then is the commission Jesus has given to His disciples both long ago and today. As faithful disciples of Christ let us remember Jesus is our example of being sent.
(image: By Pedro Ramirez Jr./U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; http://www.fws.gov/digitalmedia/FullRes/natdiglib/11141.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11517146)