Have you ever wondered why you were created? What is your purpose or mission in life? God didn’t create you with nothing in mind for your life. The Bible tells us that He had a plan before you were born for every day of your life. Now just because God has a plan does not mean that we will automatically follow that plan. No, we need to discover God’s plan or mission for our lives and follow it.
Our current message series is entitled Following Jesus. When Jesus called His disciples, He simply told them to “Follow me.”
Matthew 4:19 (ESV) And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
To discover your purpose or mission in life, the most important thing is to follow Jesus. In this verse, Jesus said that if we follow Him, He will make us into fishers of men. So, what does it mean to follow Jesus?
John 14:15 (ESV) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
To follow Jesus is to love Him and obey His instructions.
John 14:12 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
To follow Jesus is to believe in Him and to do the works that Jesus did. What are those works? They are the supernatural signs and wonders that Jesus did. Now many people believe that that is not possible for you and me. Why? They argue that Jesus was God and we are not, so we don’t have the same power. That argument is not true, because we just read in John 14:12 that Jesus said we could do the same works that He did. So, why can we do the same things that Jesus did?
John 5:19a (NIV2011) Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
You see, when Jesus came to this earth, He laid aside His divine power and walked in this world as a human being, just like you and me. He was still God, but choose to become a man with human limitations. How then could Jesus perform supernatural miracles? He did supernatural miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit, who had anointed Him at His baptism. That same power of the Holy Spirit is available to every believer today.
Today, our message is entitled Jesus’ Mission, Our Mission. After Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit, He was empowered to begin His ministry. This morning, we’re going to study what Jesus said His mission was, to learn what our mission in life is.
In Luke 4, we read that Jesus came to Nazareth, the town where He had been raised. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to read from the prophet Isaiah.
Luke 4:18-19 (ESV) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This is Jesus’ mission statement for His life. He begins by saying that the Spirit is upon Him and anointing Him. Jesus functioned in His mission through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then He lists five things that summarized His mission.
First of all, He was to proclaim the good news or gospel to the poor. The poor are those who are in need in one way or another, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. Jesus came to bring healing to those who recognized they were poor in one respect or another. Next Jesus was sent to bring liberty to captives. Captives refers to people who are enslaved by demonic powers.
Recovery of sight to the blind points forward to Jesus’ healing ministry for the sick. Freeing those who were oppressed brings freedom to people from external oppression. Finally, He was to announce that the time of God’s grace had now arrived on the earth. As we continue to go through the book of Luke, we will see how each of these aspects of Jesus’ mission came to be fulfilled.
Luke 4:21 (ESV) And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The passage in Isaiah that Jesus quoted referred to the coming Messiah who would bring about freedom for those who believed in Him.Jesus’ ministry brought the breaking in of the kingdom of God into our world. He lived a sinless life and broke the power of sin and Satan through His death and resurrection.And, He passed His mission on to His disciples and the church, of which we are part.
Luke 4:22 (ESV) And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
At first everyone who listened to Jesus were impressed by what He was saying.Who wouldn’t want all the things quoted by Jesus to happen?It would be as heaven was coming down to earth, which it was.But remember this was Nazareth and they all knew that Jesus was the supposed illegitimate son of Joseph.How could He possibly do all these things? How could He be the Messiah. They had watched Jesus grow up and become a carpenter. We see the beginning of a resentment to Jesus’ introduction of His mission. We’ll talk more about that later. Yet, we want to learn today how Jesus’ mission is our mission.
Jesus came to raise up an army of followers who would carry out His mission. We’re going to talk more about who the poor are in our next point. But now, we want to think about how we can carry out Jesus’ mission in our lives. God has created each of us to live in a certain time in history and in a certain location on this planet. In that time and place, He has put each of us in a different circle of relationships. He has called us to different jobs, different families, different neighborhoods. In your circle of influence, you are to share the good news about Jesus, so that your friends, family, workmates and neighbors are saved.
Into your life will come those who are captives and oppressed. Your mission is to show them the way to freedom in Christ.We all have many opportunities to bring healing to the sick around us through prayer and the power of the Spirit.Where there is conflict and hatred, we are to bring peace and love. And God has uniquely equipped you to do that where He has place you. So that, your mission in life is to carry out Jesus’ mission in your world.
Luke 4:23 (ESV) And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”
The friends and neighbors of Jesus in Nazareth didn’t look up to or respect Him. Not through any fault of Jesus, but because they had known Him for 30 years and not seen anything extraordinary about Him. But that was about to change. Jesus did many miracles in the nearby town of Capernaum.However Mark 6 tells us that Jesus could not do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief. Those who did not have faith, those who thought they had no need, those were not “poor in Spirit”, Jesus could not help. And the same is true for us. We are called to help the poor, those who have a need and know that they have a need.
Luke 4:24-26 (ESV) And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
The Jews of Jesus’ day thought they were special, that they didn’t have much of a need. In particular, the Jews of Nazareth didn’t believe that Jesus can help them at all. In the account from the Old Testament that Jesus shared, Elijah the prophet did not work miracles in Israel. Instead, he went to a Gentile city to work a wonderful miracle of multiplying her food during famine.There he found a widow who had faith in God and faith in the prophet to meet her need.
Luke 4:27 (ESV) And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
Next Jesus talks about the healing of a leper by the prophet Elisha.Again, this did not happen in Israel to a Jew, but a Gentile from Syria was miraculously healed.
What was Jesus’ point for us? First of all, Jesus’ mission and our mission is to people of every nation.Secondly, that our mission is to those who are in need and who will respond in faith to God’s messengers, which are us.Finally, that often, our mission is to people who are not just like us. People who may have come from a different place, have different ideas, color or economic situation.
Our mission is to the poor that God calls us to reach. Again, the poor is not necessarily someone who is financially poor, although it could be that. The poor are those who are in need of one kind or another and God directs us to meet that need.Think about the people in your life. Are there any that are poor, that are in need. Those are the ones that you should be praying for and seeking to help through the power of the Spirit.
And when you are the one in need, when you are one who is poor in one area of life or another, reach out for help from the church family. We may not know what you’re going through, but when you reach out, we will pray and believe God to meet your need.Our mission is to the poor.
Luke 4:28 (ESV) When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
The people listening to Jesus now turned on Him and became angry at Him. Why? Because they didn’t like the things that He said about them. Jesus telling them that Israel had rejected prophets in the past and they would reject Him as well. Rather than taking His words to heart and repent, they instead became angry as He challenged their attitudes. The change in their response to Jesus changed in a matter of minutes.
This was not just a simple disagreement or being slightly upset. No, the next verses tell us that this was a murderous demonic fury that had been stirred up. The crowd had gone from praising Jesus to wanting to kill Him. This was a foretaste of the anger that would eventually lead to the crucifixion.
Yet, Jesus’ mission was just beginning, so God’s protection was on Him. He simply walked through the crowd and went on His way and no one laid a hand on Him. In the gospel of Luke, this is the first occasion of people opposing Jesus’ mission, but it will not be the last. Jesus’ mission was opposed and so will our mission be opposed.
Since we are called to carry out the same mission that Jesus had, we will be opposed as we carry out that mission in our lives. This opposition is orchestrated by the devil with the purpose of stopping the mission from proceeding. However, like Jesus, we just carry on with our mission, trusting God to protect us. If you experience no opposition, that is a warning sign that you are not following Jesus close enough.
Opposition of all kinds is an indication that you are making a difference in your world and Satan is pushing back.What kinds of opposition may we encounter?People will disagree with the things you say and the things you do.They may directly tell you or they may gossip about you and tell others. Jesus tells us elsewhere to rejoice when we are persecuted, because the prophets and Jesus were persecuted for living and sharing the truth.Don’t be surprised, your mission will be opposed.
God desires for us to understand that His mission for Jesus is the same mission that each one of us as believers has. You can only carry out God’s mission for your life through the power of the Spirit, just as Jesus did. Your mission is to the poor, people who have needs and recognize their need. You are to seek to bring God’s healing to the people around you who are hurting.
As you carry out your mission, there will be opposition, both from people and from Satan. Yet, that opposition is a sign that you are on track with the mission and God will protect you. You were created to carry out God’s mission in a way perfectly suited to how God has created you and where He has placed. As you carry out your mission, you will be blessed in every aspect of your life.