“As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world.”
John 17:18 (NIV)
In September 1984 my mother told me that she wanted me to tell my father that his cancer was spreading and he would soon leave us for heaven. My sister and older brother said they could not break the news to our 80 year old father.
Dad had been transported by ambulance to Centennial Hospital in Scarborough from his cottage in the Halliburton Highlands. Already his body was slowing down and he needed significant medical attention.
I went alone to the hospital and prayed much en route that I would have the strength to do what had to be done. As I spoke to my father quietly, he immediately understood what I was saying. He interrupted me and started saying, “Son, you have to make me a promise. Promise me son.”
I assured him that I would do anything he wished. Then he said several times, “After I am gone, you must promise me you will take care of your mother.” As my father repeated that sacred trust to me, I knew this was a defining moment as I looked down on my weary dad. With that charge to me, my father made it clear that he would not let even his own death stop him from seeing to the needs of his beloved wife.
As we read the words of Jesus in our verse today we should accept it as a defining moment. By saying these words of commission to His followers of all ages, Jesus was demonstrating just how great His love was for a lost humanity. These words open up His heart of love for all to see. His Gospel must be delivered to every generation by His people until He returns to conclude events in this world.
Knowing that He would soon be making a journey back to heaven—to oversee everything for the good of His people—our Lord reminds His Father in heaven and His people of all ages that they are a sent people. As the Father sent Him so He sends His people in every generation to speak peace to a troubled world.
As the Father was with our Lord all through His earthly ministry, so He would be with every generation of Christians to strengthen and equip them for every good work. As the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do His work, so the Holy Spirit empowers believers to fulfil their sacred trust of speaking and living the Good News.
Go out today and live like Jesus. Come home tonight and offer up to the Saviour your work of the day for His own special blessing. Then rest comfortable in the knowledge that you have once more done the Father’s will and performed your sacred trust.