“This is your mission should you choose to accept it.”
Cue the suspenseful music and exploding computer disc.
This is how a mission begins in movies. A mysterious “higher power” hands down an order, and an agent must figure out how to get it done before society perishes in some ghastly manner.
God has also given his people a mission, but not on a smoking thumb drive and not by a secret or distant commander.
God’s Mission for Humanity
God has made his mission clear to his people from the very beginning. God spoke to the first humans, Adam and Eve, telling them to “fill the earth and govern it” (Genesis 1:28 NLT). God’s plan has always been for his people to rule creation under his direction and care.
Then came the problem. Satan, one of God’s creatures who rebelled and became his enemy, tried to hijack God’s plan by turning Adam and Eve against God and ruling the world himself (Genesis 3).
It worked—and ever since that day, our hearts have been inclined to rebel against God, rather than fulfill our mission (Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 17:9).
But God had already taken Satan’s strategies into account. Satan inciting our rebellion figured into God’s plan from the start. When God gave Adam and Eve the mission, he had already prepared the way for its success (Job 42:2).
He would send his own Son to crush Satan’s power and make it possible for us to return to him and govern creation under his care and direction (Romans 16:20).
God’s Mission for His Son
God’s not-so-secret mission was to save the world from our rebellion and hostility against himself through his Son, Jesus.
In the New Testament, God reveals his plan to “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his [Jesus’] blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20 NIV).
Jesus was no mysterious commander hidden off-screen. He was one of us and lived like us, but he was also co-creator of the universe and one with God his Father (Colossians 1:16; John 1:1-3). Jesus came to us from heaven and became a man to accomplish God’s mission to rescue humanity since no other human could (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Jesus succeeded by dying on the cross and taking upon himself the consequences of our sin against God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In an amazing plot twist, Jesus rose from the dead, breaking the power that evil holds over us (Romans 6:5-11).
Jesus will return from heaven and defeat Satan once and for all. When he comes back, he will remove every trace of evil from the world.
Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of the good ending that is coming for those who reject rebellion and return to God by following Jesus. It also tells us that this old, broken world will be made new. God will live with his people again.
He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. (Revelation 21:3-4 ESV)
This ending is certain, but it is not here yet.
God’s Mission for His People
As we follow Jesus and wait for his return, we have our own mission. That mission is to complete what Jesus has begun by spreading the word that Jesus made a way for us to be rescued and that he is reclaiming all of creation for God.
Jesus told his followers, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19 NIV). A disciple is not just someone who believes in Jesus, but someone who follows Jesus—a person who grabs his or her backpack and sets out to finish the mission of Jesus.
No theme music, no locked briefcase, no impossible task. We have been given a simple command and a promise. The command is “go and make disciples.”
That means that wherever we are going, we should be making disciples.
How do we do this? Start in your home, your school, or your workplace. Then go to your neighborhood and your town or suburb or city.
Go, or send others across borders into places where people speak different languages and live in different cultures so that they too may be set free from sin by trusting Jesus.
Every corner of the earth will hear the good news, and people from every language and culture will have the opportunity to follow Jesus. Together we become a great crowd of witnesses praising God for all he has done for us in a world that will be set free from evil (Revelation 7:9-10).
Ultimately, praising God together is the mission of God’s people (Revelation 7:15).
God promises that although this task may seem impossible (and it would be if we were left on our own), Jesus has done all that’s needed for God’s mission and our mission to be accomplished.
Jesus is already ruling the world, he has already paid the price for sinners to be reconciled to God, and he has already broke the power of sin and Satan in the world. He will be with us as we fulfill our mission.
Ultimately, this is his mission, and he will see it through.