Jesus brought a simple message of hope into this world. You could call it his mission statement. Standing in front of people who had watched him grow up, who knew him and his family, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. (Is. 61:1-3)
When he finished, Jesus told his listeners that this passage was about him and his ministry or mission. What a needed mission in our world today! To proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom to people who are tired of this sin-sick world. To bind up the brokenhearted and help those in pain. To set people free from captivity that robs them of life. To turn sadness, disappointment and grief into joy and praise. To establish people with great strength. What a difference this makes.
This was the mission of Jesus and it needs to be the mission of his church. As a pastor I get distracted with so many things. The towels in the washroom need changing. Our internet is down again. We need more Sunday school space. The sound system isn’t working properly. And on the list goes. All these things need to be cared for but they aren’t why we are a church. In doing these things we can’t forget our main calling as a church; which is to echo the mission and message of Jesus. Otherwise we fall short.
I’m committing this passage to more prayer, spending more time examining my activities and believing more than ever that Jesus is still in the business of doing this kind of work. It’s what the world needs but more importantly it what I need. Let’s make room this coming season at Crossroads for Jesus to do his life giving work. Let’s be people who actively cooperate with the mission of the risen Savior. Nothing could be more significant.