Stories with Luke Week 4:
"The Mission of Christ"
Pastor Terry Inman
Luke story today features Jesus in his hometown making a dramatic mission statement. At first the locals are impressed then when he claims to be the anticipated Messiah they are offended and reject him.
A mission statement is a declaration or your core purpose. It’s your reason for existence as an individual or enterprise. It is who you are and what you do. There are four things a good mission statement does.
- It tends to remain unchanged over time.
- It serves to filter what is important from what is not.
- It identifies who, what, where and how you will serve.
- It sets a direction for you and others who may follow.
When I was in college I was asking the Lord some significant life questions about my future. What did he want me to do? Who did he want me to marry? I was up late one night wrestling with these issues. I hopped in my 66 VW Bug and drove into the Santa Cruz Mountains.
I parked the car on a clear night opened the sunroof and began a tearful prayer session, asking the Lord for direction. My bible was open in my lap. Moon lit tears fell on an obscure passage of scripture.
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
(Psa. 45.7 NIV)
This was initially a mission statement for King David.
It didn’t fully understand the message at the time but I knew God was calling me and giving me a prophetic life verse. Later I learned that it was a proclamation over King David at his coronation and wedding celebration.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews it was applied to Christ our King.
I won’t go into a lot of the detail but the rest of chapter fits well with the ministry and the marriage the Lord was leading me into. Here are just a few of the lines in (Psalms 45) To David says the writer says…
- Your lips have been anointed with grace. (I love to communicate grace)
- Ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness.
- The music of the strings makes you glad. (I love elevator music)
- At your right hand is the royal bride in gold. (Mary is pure gold to me)
- Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. (We have many natural and spiritual sons many of them now in leadership)
Now this message is not about me. It’s about Jesus and it’s about us.
He had a mission and he has a mission for each one of us. He experienced some stiff resistance. So will we if we get on track with His purpose.
It’s hard enough to discover and clarify your mission. But when you do not everyone is impressed. Your family or friends may think, “who do think your are”, especially if they are not confident in whom they are.
Luke begins this story as Jesus moves from the wilderness, to His early ministry. “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”
(Luke 4.14-15 NIV)
So far Luke has featured the Holy Spirit’s activity at Jesus conception.
The Holy Spirit “overshadowed” Mary and she conceived. (Luke 1.35) The Holy Spiritdescended on Jesus at his baptism. (Luke 3.22) He was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit, as he was tempted in the wilderness.
Now he returns to Galilee in the “power of the Spirit”. In his hometown he announces the “Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach good news.”
Jesus had the Spirit in him. He was full of the Spirit. He was led of the Spirit. Now he begins his ministry in the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit also gives us spiritual birth. We are baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowers us for our life and ministry. If Jesus needed the presence and the power of God’s Holy Spirit then so do we!
Galilee was the rural area around the Lake of Gennesaret where most of Jesus ministry took place. Apparently he moved from village to village and frequented the small synagogues. The word was getting out all over the countryside that he was a great teacher. People were singing his praises.
He was becoming a hometown hero. Luke says he went to Nazareth where he had played in the streets as a child. He was a devout Jew. Luke says, it was his custom to attend the Sabbath service in the synagogue.
The elder in charge handed him the large scroll containing the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled it and selected Isaiah 60 as the day’s reading.
What the homefolks did not understand is that he was fulfilling prophecy. He was reciting His life verse. He was making His mission statement.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luke 4.18-19 NIV)
Luke’s version of this is slightly different than the original in Isaiah. Isaiah adds the title “Sovereign Lord” They both proclaim or preach good news to the poor. Isaiah adds, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted”
They both mention freedom for captives. Isaiah says, “release from darkness for prisoners” and Luke says “recovery of sight for the blind” and adds, “release the oppressed”.
These are not discrepancies. Isaiah was written in ancient Hebrew and Luke translated it into Greek. Jesus was stating His mission based on this ancient prophecy. Luke makes it the theme of the rest of His gospel.
Jesus came with good news for the less fortunate, the under resourced, the ones he spoke of when he said, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
The Spirit empowered Jesus to make a difference for the disadvantaged.
Not just in words but in works. It’s good news if it alleviates suffering.
Let me arrange Jesus mission into four areas of ministry.
(1.) Healing for the broken (He binds up the brokenhearted)
(2.) Freedom for the bound (He proclaims freedom for captives)
(3.) Recovery for the blind. (He gives recovery of site to the blind)
(4.) Release for the burdened (He releases the oppressed)
The word “brokenhearted” describes someone crushed at his or her core.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushedin spirit.”
(Psa. 34.18 NIV)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
(Psa. 51.17 NIV)
Jesus came to repair broken people! (Isaiah 53.5) in The Message bible says, “But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.”
Good news, there is healing for our brokenness! “He binds up the brokenhearted” There is also Freedom for the bound. He proclaims freedom for prisoners or captives.
Satan tries to take advantage of our brokenness. He manipulates our pain. We all have been raised in a fallen world. Some sort of lack, hurt, or wound victimizes all of us.
In our brokenness we attempt to heal our pain with something harmful. We then become bound. We are hostage to hurts, and captive to our preferred painkiller. We are bound to harmful hurts, hang-ups and habits.
The Apostle Paul said, "I have the right to do anything"--but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Cor 6.12 NIV) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
(Romans 6.12 NIV)
Jesus came to free the bound. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5.1 NIV)
We are also blinded by in our bondage. Unaware of our real pain, we live in denial. Jesus gives recovery of site to the blind. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD lifts those who are bowed down.
(Psa. 146.8 NIV)
The Lord told the Apostle Paul… “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26.18 NIV)
Finally Jesus releases the oppressed. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
(Acts 10.38 NIV)
Jesus does exactly the opposite of Satan. He came to destroy the devil's work. (1John 3.8 NIV) Jesus opens our blind eyes to our brokenness and bondage. He removes us from our darkness. He frees us from bondage. He heals our brokenness and releases us from oppressive fear and shame.
Jesus also proclaims the Lord favor or acceptance. “to proclaim the year (time) of the Lord’s favor.” God is for us!
Our mission at Harbor Light is taken from Jesus’s mission.
- Rescuing people from life’s storms to shelter in Christ.
- Recovering people through God’s healing presence.
- Rebuilding people by connecting them with each other.
- Releasing people by empowering them with purpose.
Jesus mission is our mission! Speak good news not bad news. Invite the Holy Spirit to help hurting people heal. Lead people out of darkness and into freedom. Let them know that God favors them.
Luke says all eyes were on Jesus as he read these words and told his homefolks they were being fulfilled in Him and in His ministry.
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
At first they were impressed. “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
(Luke 4.22 NIV)
They couldn’t grasp that this kid raised by a poor craftsman in their small village could be the Messiah. Many of them would be aware of his very controversial birth story.
He quickly changed from a hometown hero to a threat. “Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
(Luke 4.23 NIV)
They wanted him to perform and prove his Messianic claims. They would reject him just like they did their ancient prophets.
“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
(Luke 4.24-27 NIV)
They wanted a local national hero. Jesus knew their hearts. He didn’t come just for his own race but the whole human race! It’s easy for us to want a Jesus that reinforces our cultural traditions?
Some of the things happening in this new administration are good some maybe not. Jesus is not the savior of America; He’s the savior of the whole world. If he’s partial to anyone it’s the poor, broken, bound, blind, and burdened. He said, “I was a stranger and you invited me in”!
To the religious leaders he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
(Luke 5.31-32 NLT)
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
(Luke 4.28-30 NIV)
Jesus heals the broken, frees the bound, opens blindness and releases the burdened. His mission is our mission!