Jesus' mission defines our mission

Posted May 2, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Luke 4:16-21

16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. 17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
19   and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. [Isaiah 61:1-2, 58:6]

20 He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. 21 He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Reflection Questions

In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2. Then he stunned his hometown audience by saying, in effect, “Isaiah’s text was about me.” Isaiah said the one the Lord anointed (“Messiah” meant “anointed one”) would especially help the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed. Jesus’ choice of “platform” said that his mission was to dramatically change the world’s priorities, to bring spiritual and social good news, healing and deliverance.

  • Do you think Jesus understood the words he read in Nazareth as just symbolic words about spiritual captivity, or did he, like Methodism’s founder John Wesley, want to help actual “poor, beggared prisoners”? (If you sense God nudging you in that direction, click here to learn more.) What are some other practical ways you can help our congregation live out God’s concern for justice today?
  • Jesus upset many of his hearers by saying God’s kingdom was present, not just future. Luke 4:21 in The Message says, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”* Are you waiting for God to change the world “someday”? How are you making yourself available NOW for God to change your life—and through you, the lives of others?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed—sometimes I start feeling overwhelmed. You never did. Grow in me a patient determination to channel your power to make this world a better place. Amen.


* From Eugene H. Peterson, The Message. NavPress, 1993-2002.

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Kari Burgess

Kari Burgess

Kari is a part of Resurrection's ShareChurch team. She is involved with the marketing, guest registration, and volunteer coordination for the conferences we host, and she considers it a joy to serve, using her gifts to help renew God's church. She enjoys running and hiking and loves being a cheerleader for her girls at all of their sporting, music and school events.

At worship on Sunday morning, my husband, youngest daughter (Savannah) and I filled out our surveys about our current involvement and future dreams for Church of the Resurrection. At one point Savannah, who is 13, turned to me looking a bit perplexed and asked how to answer one of the questions. The question said something like, “How many ministries are you currently involved in?” Her pencil was pointing to the “None” answer. I reminded her that she helps twice a month singing in KiDSCOR and twice a month with Matthew’s Ministry as a guide for a special needs child. That was 2 things I could think of just off the top of my head!

Later in the afternoon we took the dog on the walk. I asked her what she thought about worship and, in particular, about the survey. She said, “Mom, it just didn’t really make much sense to me. I’m just a kid. I don’t think any of it really applied to me.”

It became apparent to me, that in her eyes, singing in KiDSCOR worship is fun and a good opportunity to sing and perform. Hopefully, I helped her see this type of volunteering as a ministry, one way to share the light of Jesus for elementary kids.

She also serves as a guide during KiDSCOR programming for a boy with special needs. Again, she expressed that she doesn’t feel like she’s doing much. “I just go to Bible Theater with him, play with him in the classroom and help redirect him when needed. It’s fun!” What she doesn’t totally grasp is that, because she is willing to guide this boy during Sunday School, his parents are able to attend worship and his siblings are able to attend Sunday School. This has a big impact on this family!

Savannah has such a big heart and being a helper comes naturally to her. Is her impact big and dramatic? It maybe doesn’t take big, dramatic effort on her part, but the impact she has on this family is big for them.

God sent Jesus to do big things – ”to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed.” And in turn, Jesus charged us with being His hands and feet in this world – in big and small ways.

When we’re talking about being the “salt of the earth,” about bringing out the goodness in whatever we touch, I think that is just what my sweet Savannah is doing. She does this every day in little ways. All those little ways bundled together are punching holes in the darkness and helping this world look more like the Kingdom of God.

This experience has led me to think about my mission too. In what ways am I being the hands and feet of Jesus? Am I doing what God has called me to do? Am I listening to where God is leading me?

I am excited to see where God might lead Savannah (and ME!) in the future, and how he might use her in bigger and bigger ways as she comes of age.

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