The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14, The Message).
If there is a template for missions – it is Jesus! God present – God with us. Jesus did not offer us a ‘word’ of salvation. He was the Word! He lived among us, prayed for and with us in the language of the common man. He ate and slept, worked and rested, cried and laughed. He knew rejection and disappointment. He was so ordinary that he had to be picked out of a crowd by a traitor’s kiss. Yet, he was not ordinary at all. No acclimatization of any missionary to reach across a culture can be compared to the incarnation of Jesus. God became man – there can be no greater adaptation for mission.
He came to the most reachable – “his own!” But he died for the world. He lived “in the neighborhood” without being narrowed and defined by it. He was a local boy, and yet no one was more global in perception or awareness. He was not exempt from common need and want, but he never lacked. He revealed the Father, by attitude and example, and by word and deed. He was compassionate and yet confrontational. The glory of Heaven rested on him, though concealed from natural eyes. The power of God flowed through him, which dramatically impacted the lives of the desperate. Divine wisdom poured out of him, simplifying the complex, offering hope to the hopeless and healing prodigal relationships with the Creator Father. He exposed sin and then died for sin’s solution. He came to close the sin and death gap, to narrow the distance between God and man! This is what intercessory prayer does. It steps into some gap – first with prayer, then with care, and finally with the gift of reconciliation itself.
Rejected by the men he created and sought to redeem, he nevertheless prayed for their reconciliation through forgiveness. Rising from the dead and ascending to the Father, He challenged us to tell the world that he had come – to move into the neighborhood, as he had done. His desire is that we stand in the gap and that we advocate for the displaced and wounded. Two millennia after his death, the task is still unfinished. The task is not impossible. It is doable. If the USA Church alone were required to provide all the missionaries needed around the world, the force could be created with less than 0.5 percent of evangelicals aged 18-35. So why have we not completed our obligation to the Great Commission? C. T. Studd declared, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
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 Paul Borthwick Six Dangerous Questions: To Transform Your View of the World (InterVarsity Press Books: December, 1996), 45.
P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.