Just what was Jesus up to?

Recently I contributed a series of devotionals for a group of men from my church. I thought I’d repost them here. It is a five part series around the theme of God being in charge of things.

This is part 2. The other posts in this series are here.

Something’s missing

Those of us who are familiar with a traditional church setting will be familiar with the Apostles Creed. It is a beautifully concise statement of belief and any Christian would do well to meditate on it. There’s a problem though…. one section goes like this:

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote four accounts of Jesus’ life, and an awful lot went on between born of the Virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate. What was the purpose of Jesus’ time on earth between being born and dying on a cross? Was He just here to show us how to be decent folk while we wait to die and go to heaven?

Early in His ministry, Jesus gives us a clue. In Luke chapter 4 He visits the synagogue in Nazareth and reads from the book of Isaiah and announces He is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He reads this out (and almost gets thrown off a cliff by the locals for doing so):

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

Putting the world to rights

Jesus was here to put the world to rights. Things were off the rails and the king that Israel was waiting for God to send had arrived. He brought good news but it wasn’t what people expected. The Jews of the time assumed that when their messiah arrived he’d kick out the Romans and move Israel to the top of the pile where they belonged. But when Jesus set about healing the sick, giving sight to blind, setting captives free, and asking people to love their neighbours He was showing what it really looked like when God was back in control. “The Kingdom of God is here!” Jesus announced, and then showed us just what that meant. He put things around him back in the order God intended – people living free, healed, with purpose, and eternally minded.

What would Isaiah have prophesied if he were talking about you? The Spirit of the Lord is also on us. Believers are anointed, but to do what? The church has a similar ministry to Jesus – to bring Gods order and wisdom to the world around us. We are able ministers of the new covenant Paul declares in 2nd Corinthians 3:6. With your prayers, your words, and your actions you can carry the good news that the Kingdom of God has arrived into any situation.

  1. How would my ______ (workplace, team, family, etc.) look if God were running it?
  2. What can I do, to make it more like that?

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