Here are two excellent quotes from John Stott on the nature of God’s mission and how we are sent to join in that mission.
The primal mission is God’s, for it is he who sent his prophets, his Son, his Spirit. Of these missions the mission of the Son is central, for it was the culmination of the ministry of the prophets, and it embraced within itself as its climax the sending of the Spirit. And now the Son sends [us] as he himself was sent.
The crucial form in which the Great Commission has been handed down to us (though it is the most neglected because it is the most costly) is the Johannine. Jesus had anticipated it in his prayer in the upper room which he said to the Father: “As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
Now, probably in the same upper room but after his death and resurrection, he turned his prayer-statement into a commission and said: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21).
In both of these statements Jesus did more than draw a vague parallel between his mission and ours. Deliberately and precisely he made his mission the model of ours, saying “as the Father sent me, so I send you.” Therefore our understanding of the church’s mission must be deduced from our understanding of the Son’s.
- John R.W. Stott in Christian Mission in the Modern World