In his standing column for the Pentecostal Messenger, General Secretary Coleman pinpoints four significant aspects of Christ's mission on earth. As you read, consider: How might we join Christ in fulfilling this mission?
June 1, 2022
Mission & Vision
One sabbath day, Jesus goes to the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. Everybody is there, eager to hear Jesus. He then reads from the scroll of lsaiah. Then, turning to what you and I know as the 61st chapter, he reads:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19, NKJV).
Jesus read a passage that everyone listening knew referred to the longed-for, prophesied Messiah. With everyone's attention, Jesus quotes Luke 4:21, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." When Jesus said that it astonished the crowd. They said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" Luke tells us that before this encounter was over, the synagogue crowd turned on Jesus and tried to throw him over a cliff.
Jesus knew His mission. He knew why the Father sent Him into the world and aligned Himself with the Father's mission. Everything He did, taught and recorded of His life in the Gospels focused on accomplishing the mission for which He was sent. Jesus was anointed for this purpose. Let us look into a few of the things that define His mission.
The "poor" means two things: 1) poor in material possessions and 2) poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3). A poor person, in spirit, acknowledges his utter helplessness before God: his spiritual need. He knows that he is solely dependent upon God to provide. He admits his inability to face life and eternity apart from God, recognizing that the true blessings of life and eternity come only from a right relationship with the LORD. A person poor in spirit is humble, acknowledging that he is no better, no more superior than the next person, no matter what he may have achieved in this world. So, this is why Christ came to preach the salvation of God to the poor, those who readily know they need salvation. And to these, God promised the Kingdom of Heaven.
In every generation, there are brokenhearted masses in need of healing. These people are crushed with grief, devastated by divorce, overwhelmed with financial problems, blemished by sin, deserted by friends, consumed with loneliness, ravaged by disease, and enslaved to the world. A vast host of experiences can cause all kinds of suffering for people. To heal and bind up the heart was one of the purposes for which God was to send the Messiah. Once Jesus came into the world, He immediately began to heal the brokenhearted. And He continues His healing ministry even today. The touch of Jesus Christ can restore any broken heart.
The meaning refers to the two forces people cannot escape alone because of the Fall: sin and death. Every human sins and dies. Humanity had been taken hostage by sin and death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 7:14; Heb. 9:27). But the Savior was to liberate people from the bondage of sin and death. No human being has the power or ability to free him or herself. Only God can redeem and deliver people. God Himself gave the life of His Son so that every person might be set free from the slavery of sin and death. As a result, every captive is redeemable through the blood of Jesus, who died for all humanity.
The acceptable year of the LORD means the age of salvation. When Messiah came into the world, He was to proclaim the glorious message of God's salvation. From the Savior's coming and to the end of the age, the marvelous testimony of man's liberation from sin and death and from the coming judgment would be declared to all. God's grace was to be poured out upon people. And because of God's grace, people could now be saved. The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). It was the mission of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to make known the salvation of God for people! Jesus' atoning work on our behalf is complete, but His mission to gather people from every tribe, tongue, and nation is still moving forward. Our service to God's kingdom is an extension of Jesus' work. We do this with Him, not just for Him. Or better said, it's what He does through us. It's not that Jesus worked while He was here, and now the church works in His absence. Jesus worked then, and He works now through His church by the Holy Spirit. Ministry is all around us every day. Every neighborhood and workplace is a mission field. We must commit ourselves to fulfill His mission!
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