Jesus Is Calling You – And Sending You
May 5, 2013
The Lord has risen! Alleluia! He has risen indeed!
One of the things that being a follower of the Risen Christ means that you are called by Jesus – and sent by Jesus.
In other words – you are called – and sent. You experience the call of Jesus — the call to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior – and you also experience Jesus sending you out into the world, and strengthening you with His Spirit, to do His work and His will in the Church, the community and the world.
Being a follower of the risen Christ means that you and called – and sent. It means that Jesus is calling you – and sending you.
Robin Williams is a gifted actor – one of my favorites – who can do a masterful job with roles that range from the highly comedic to the highly dramatic. While I enjoy his comedy, it is his dramatic roles I really appreciate. Awakenings is one of my favorite movies he has done. In it he plays Dr. Sayer, a young doctor just out of medical school who is asked to help with patients in a hospital where the patients are not expected to get well. On every chart the diagnosis reads:
HOPELSS CASE – NO CHANGES OR THERAPY RECOMMENDED
Dr. Sayer does not understand why he has been assigned to this hospital. He feels that he went to medical school to make a difference, not be stuck with patients for whom he could not make a difference. He sees no purpose in being there – and hates going to work every day.
Until he begins to notice something.
He notices that even though these patients are catatonic and seem to be unresponsive to any stimulus, they have little “awakenings” from time to time when given the right stimuli.
Lenny, for example, responds to his name.
Lucy responds to the patterns on the floor and walks across the room by the patterns.
Some respond to music.
Dr Sayer becomes intrigued, and even excited about, the fact that, indeed, some stimuli do bring responses from these patients, regardless of what the other doctors think. He begins his mission of finding what it is that brings responses, or what he calls “Awakenings”, from each patient. He is on the verge of finding ways to help each patient, and even extend the “awakenings” for each patient, when his time with them comes to an end. At the end of the movie, one of the patients tells him:
“You might think your supervisors called you and sent you here – but it was God. God called you – and sent you here – to give us our awakenings – and show us who we can truly be.”
As a follower of the risen Christ, Jesus is calling you — and Jesus is sending you.
Jesus is calling you to have a life changing relationship with Him, – and then is sending you into the world to do things for Him that seem improbable or even impossible, but because you have God’s Spirit, the things that seem to be impossible are possible.
That is the work of Jesus in your life — and is to be your work for Jesus in the world
Jesus is calling you — and Jesus is sending you.
The Scripture passages before us today are examples of Jesus’ work of calling and sending in people’s lives.
The Gospel passage from John 14 comes from the Last Supper discourse that Jesus shared with His disciples before He was crucified. As Jesus sits with His disciples at that last meal he enjoys with them before His crucifixion, He begins telling them about how He was going to leave them.
They must have thought –
Jesus – leaving?
Where was He going?
And – what would happen to them?
Jesus tells them He is going back to “the Father”, and that and they are going to be sent into the world to do His work
Jesus had called them to follow Him – and now He was sending them into the world to do His work. Jesus had called them – and now He was sending them.
But He does not send them into the world without the power and strength they need to do His will. He promises that the Spirit will come, and will strengthen them for their calling of taking Jesus’ will for salvation, healing, peace, and justice into the world.
Jesus shows them that they were called — and sent
Friends – Jesus calls you so you can have a relationship with Him that will change your life—but Jesus also sends you into the world and gives you His Spirit so that you can help Him change the world as you work for His will of salvation, peace, love and justice in the world.
Jesus may sometimes send you into situations that you do not understand – He may sometimes seem to have you do things that seem to have little meaning — but when it is all said and done you may look back and finally see that He was in the midst of those circumstances all along. I am sure the disciples did not understand what was happening to Jesus, and to them, as the events of the last week in Jerusalem – and then the crucifixon – unfolded. Not until after the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit did it begin to make sense. Not until after the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit did they begin to understand how they were called – and sent – by Jesus to experience His mighty love, then share that with the world
Paul may not have understood what was happening as he was “living out” the stories that make up the book of Acts as his opponents pursued him through Greece and – as our passage in Acts 16 begins — he was on the verge of being chased into what he felt was the barren, barbaric land of Macedonia – until he has s vision of a man from Macedonia asking for his assistance, and he went and preached, and Lydia was baptized, and others, and others, until the Gospel message and the will of God spread through Macedonia and then into Europe.
Jesus was working in all of the situations of Paul’s life — always calling Paul to experience Him in new ways – and always sending Paul to share Him in new ways.
Jesus is calling you — and sending you.
Even when you can’t see the purpose to what is happening in your life, Jesus does – and can use what is happening in your life for His will and purpose.
In the movie Awakenings Dr. Sayer did not understand why he was sent to work with catatonic patients until he begins helping them achieve some degree of normalcy. The disciples did not understand the purpose of Jesus’ departure from them until they see how it was part of God’s plan for salvation. Paul and his companions did not understand why they were being pursued throughout Greece until they saw that it took them to Macedonia.
Jesus was calling Dr. Sayer – and sending him into the catatonic patient ward to help those patients realize God’s will for normalcy and love. Jesus was calling the disciples, and sending them to bear witness to God’s great love. Jesus was calling Paul as he went throughout Greece, and even into Macedonia, so the people there could come to know Him.
Jesus is calling you – and is sending you into the world to be about His work, even in the most improbable ways.
What is Jesus calling you to do?
Where is Jesus sending you?
I can’t really give you specifics from the pulpit – but I would welcome to opportunity to sit and talk with each of you about this. But – I can give you some general guidelines to the calling and sending of Jesus in your life
Jesus is calling you to do whatever you can to help people realize His love and His will for salvation, peace, justice, and love in the world. Jesus is calling you to do whatever it takes to show His will to the world. Even when it seems impossible, and even if you can’t understand it at the time, Jesus is with you, the Spirit is guiding and strengthening you, and you are doing God’s will.
Jesus is calling you – and sending you.
Listen for Jesus’ call. Listen for what Jesus is calling you to do. Listen for where Jesus is calling you to go.
Then do it! Do what Jesus is calling you to do. Go where Jesus is calling you to go.
Maybe Jesus is calling you to do something that seems to have no real reason or hope for success – like Dr. Sayer and his catatonic patients. Maybe Jesus is calling you to experience something that is confusing or even painful – like the disciples experiencing His death. Maybe Jesus is calling you to do something that seems futile, like Paul going into Macedonia with God’s word. But – even in situations like Dr. Sayer and the catatonic patients, Jesus can bring hope and new life. Even in situations like the disciples experiencing the pain of Jesus’ death, Jesus can bring the hope of resurrection. Even in situations that seem as futile as Paul entering Macedonia to preach, Jesus can bring the hope of the baptism of Lydia – and others.
Jesus is always calling you – and Jesus is always sending you
Jesus is always strengthening you to do His work and will in Church, the community, and the world. Whatever Jesus may be calling you to do, wherever Jesus may be calling you to go, know that Jesus is with you, Know that Jesus is strengthening you to go - and do.
I read a story not long ago about a girl named Brenda who was invited to go rock climbing with a group of her friends. Although she was scared to death, she went with a group of friends to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold of the rope and started up the face of the cliff. Eventually, she got to a ledge where she took a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens.
There she was on a rock ledge, half way up a cliff, and now could barely see. Of course, she looked and looked, hoping her contact had landed on the ledge, but it wasn’t there. She proceeded with her climb, but still could not see clearly when she reached the top of the cliff. Despondent and waiting for the rest of the party to finish the climb, she looked out across range after range of mountains, which she couldn’t see all that well without her contact, and, thinking of the Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” she prayed: “Lord, you can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and you know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.”
Finally, the rest of her party made it to the top, and, after resting and checking Brenda’s clothing for her contact to no avail, they started down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers, just starting up the cliff. One of them shouted, “Hey! Anybody lose a contact lens?”
That would have been startling enough, but do you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of a rock, carrying it.
Brenda called her Dad that night to relate the amazing story to him. He was a cartoonist, and when she returned home he had a cartoon drawn of an ant lugging a contact lens with the caption:
“Jesus, I don’t know why you want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what you want me to do, I’ll carry it for you.”
Jesus is calling you – and sending you – to do His work and will in the Church, the community and the world. Even if it does not make sense – even if it seems futile – even if it is difficult – it is Jesus’s will – and like Jesus strengthened Dr. Sayer, the disciples, Paul, and yes, even the ant, Jesus strengthens you to do His will and to take His will into the world and share His will with world.
Jesus is calling you – and Jesus is sending you. Amen.