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Before God made the first spruce or pine Christmas tree He had already planned to send His Son into the world on that divine incarnate redemption mission:

1 Peter 1:18-20 - “....knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. [20] He was foreknown before the foundation of the world....”

We can’t even imagine the depth of divine planning. We can’t grasp the infinite workings of the mind of the Godhead - that the Son would so come to live as one of us - that He would sacrifice all - leave everything behind except the willingness to die a horrible death on the cross to reach the likes of us.

Jesus Himself said the Son came covered in the Father’s love - John 10:17 - “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.” Contrary to the mixed-up theology of progressives, the Father didn’t love the Son less on the cross, but more. The Father takes particular delight in the faithfulness of the sent Son. That’s going to be a very important sentence in just a few minutes.

The Son didn’t just take on human flesh. He laid it down. He came specifically to lose everything that we might gain everything - 2 Corinthians 8:9 - “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Underscore those words, “....he became poor....” Let those words land. This really happened. He didn’t start out poor. He started out rich in all the matchless splendor of the Godhead. But He became poor at the specific point of being sent into our fallen, broken state. Make that another mental note just for now. The Son became poor the moment He was sent.

Now there’s a point to this quick examination of the mission of our glorious Lord as sent by the loving Father. The Son explains the shocking reason for being sent into this world. God so loved the world He sends you and me. The sent Son becomes the sender. More specifically, the Father sends the Son into this world to provide a working model of how the Son sends you and me into this same world.

Jesus said it twice on the record:

John 17:18 - “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

John 20:21 - “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Don’t miss this sentence: When Jesus says we’re sent into this world as He was sent into this world He does not mean we are sent in addition to His being sent. He is not adding our sending to His. He’s liking our sending to His. Jesus clearly means for us to make the mental link between these two parallel “sendings.” We’re meant to see the connectors of thought - “” - “As....even so.” Jesus isn’t laboring to point out the difference between the two sendings (and there are major differences). He’s laboring to stress the similarities. “As I was sent - in the same way I was sent - so you are sent.”

I hadn’t pondered those similarities very deeply or specifically before. I hadn’t innumerated them. And that would be disappointing to my Lord.

1) As the Father sent the Son with a specific mission to reveal the Father’s love, so we have been sent to reach this dark world with the light and hope of the Father’s redeeming love

John 17:23 - “ that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

These are stunning words. Jesus says the Father’s plan in sending the Son was to make the unbelievable point that the Father loves the world as much as He loves the Son.

But there’s a problem. The Son isn’t visibly here anymore. It is now the Son’s plan that through my being sent into the world the world will see, by my outrageous sacrifice on its behalf, that God still loves the world as much as He loves the Son. I’m sent to make that visible.

2) As the Father sent the Son with precious words to proclaim, so we have been sent with words to say and a commission to obey

John 17:7-8 - “Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”

We too have a specifically word-oriented message to deliver, and we have to be faithful to it:

Galatians 1:8-9 - “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

Paul’s point is we’re not just sent on some social justice errand. We’ve been entrusted with a message - words.

3) As the Father sent the Son to lay down His very life, so we are called to sacrifice our own comfort and security in order to reach the world with Christ’s love

Philippians 2:6-8 - “....who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Apparently there is only one way to know if the Savior’s love has reached my fallen heart:

2 Corinthians 5:15 - “....and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Strangely, there isn’t a single word about the divine forgiveness of sins in this cross- centered text. How do you know if your heart has been reached by the Son? The Bible says He will make you sick of merely accumulating material wealth and success. You won’t be able to stand living like that. It will bore you.

4) As the Father sent the Son to complete His greatest joy, so as we are sent by the Son we will find our greatest joy

Hebrews 12:2 - “....looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

1 John 1:3-4 - “....that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

Of course, this self-sacrificing joy is not the kind of joy you would easily predict. That’s the difference here. You can easily predict the joy of a new car. You anticipate that joy. The joy of sacrificing deeply as being sent by Jesus isn’t usually an anticipated joy. It’s a discovered joy.

And here’s the difference. That anticipated joy of the new car fades almost before the new car smell is gone. The discovered joy of sacrificing deeply for Christ only deepens and satisfies as the joy of the sending Lord warms your heart. Your whole life starts to light up in a way you couldn’t have anticipated. I hope you discover that joy today!