Where Does Mission Begin?
At the very heart, mission begins in Genesis 1. To me, it would be illogical for mission to begin in Matthew 28, by-passing the entire Old Testament. In addition, it would even be illogical for mission to begin in Genesis 12 with the call of Abraham.Not to discount the importance of these passages, they do provide specificity to the mission—they are just not the origin of the mission. I believe that the missio Dei, the mission of God, originates in Genesis 1. The very first book and passage of Scripture provides the details of God (YHWH, ELOHIM) creating the domain of earth. The purpose of his creation is assumed rather than explained. By ascribing purpose and function to the contents of his creation, there must be purpose and function behind God’s creation. Later on in passages such as Psalm 19, the purpose of God’s creation is understood more clearly: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.”
In short this morning, I believe the creation of man reveals God’s intention for his created order. When God creates man he does so in his image as well as with his breath, with the intent of being intimately connected to him in the Garden space. It is with man, God’s prized creation, who is given specific instructions, that God brings his heavenly kingdom to earth. This whole idea of heaven coming to earth is woven throughout Scripture:
– God’s call on Abraham contrasted to the earthly fleshly city, Babylon
– God’s call on Israel
– Jesus coming and declaring the Kingdom has come and is coming
– The church as the body of Christ, the house of God, and as agents and signs of the Kingdom
– The coming of the new city, New Jerusalem (Rev 21-22), when heaven comes to new earth
Therefore, at the core, the mission of God is to create a peaceful and good kingdom or domain, where he is supremely and preeminently glorified as God, King and Creator; and to have a people set aside for his own glory and praise who proclaim (and spread) his greatness and grace, as well as demonstrate (in all spheres of life as they spread) the glories of his righteous, pure, and holy kingdom.