In this last in a (and Kris would say too) long (of a) series on how Jesus would understand being missional, I want to look at what is perhaps the most profound of all the ideas mentioned in Matthew 9:35-11:1. Those who are involved in missional work (which is really all of us to one degree or another) and who are especially in the frontiers called liminality are the presence of Christ to others.
There is a chain-link from you and me in our missional presentation of Kingdom to God. Notice these words of Jesus, and let them stagger you if you can:
“The one who receives you [the missioner], receives me, and the one who receives me receives the one who sent me” (Matthew 10:40).
And then Jesus begins at the top of missionally-oriented vocations and works down: prophets, righteous person (the Tsadiq), and then another saying is added and it seems to refer to the ordinary benevolent actions of anyone who helps even the smallest of humans — if this is done missionally in the name of Jesus, the person will not only be rewarded but will know the sacred splendor of representing Jesus Christ to others. Doesn’t matter what you are called to do, you are to be the presence of Christ to others.
Which means: the missional call is essentially the call to incarnate Jesus in our work. It means we are not on our own, it means this is not about us, it means this is not about programs and size and glory, but about being Jesus to others by surrendering who we are and what we do to the Kingdom calls us into.
I’m guessing one question Jesus would have asked his missioners is this, or something like this, “Did the people around you see me in you?” We might ask about numbers and changes and impact, but Jesus would ask “Whom did they see in you?”